Panel CfP for 2019 SANA/SUNTA Conference: Relocalizing Agriculture in a Transnational World

Below please find a call for papers for a student proposed panel at the joint Society for the Anthropology of North America and the Society for Urban, National, and Transnational Anthropology conference this May, in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The conference theme is “Positive Futures.”  

Apologies if you’re seeing this a second time – had some technical issues when I tried to post it previously!

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Relocalizing Agriculture in a Transnational World: Place, Markets, and Migration  

Panel Co-Organizers: Alex Korsunsky (Vanderbilt University) and Emily Ramsey (University of Georgia)

Panel Co-Chairs: Emily Ramsey and Alex Korsunsky  

Whether to address neo-Malthusian concerns of population increase, global food insecurity, or the effects of climate change, agriculture and food systems are critical sites at which to enact change that will vitally shape both human and environmental futures. Scholars, farmers, and consumers look to alternative food systems to provide promising paths forward from the problems many identify within current global agro-industrial food systems. This proposed panel at the 2019 Society for the Anthropology of North America/Society for Urban, National, and Transnational Anthropology Spring Conference asks what positive futures farmers imagine for themselves and others, the affective and cultural meanings they attach to their work, and how their projects interact with and illuminate agro-ecological and political-economic regimes at a variety of scales. How do alternative food systems and practices function as placemaking projects, and how do they gather and mobilize particular social and ecological relationships? How do interactions with particular places, movements, and markets inform the formation of identities and subjectivities? To what extent are practitioners and stakeholders active in relocalizing and perhaps even decommodifying agricultural economies in the face of capitalist agro-industry?   Despite a discursive opposition of local, alternative agriculture and globalized agribusiness, transnational connections have long been important within agriculture and food systems due to reliance on immigrant and migrant farm laborers. These connections continue to expand with the rapidly growing number of immigrant and minority farm operators in the U.S. How do these farmers and farm laborers engage with alternative food production or straddle an agro-industrial/alternative divide? In what ways might alternative food systems represent a sort of bottom-up globalization (sensu Escobar 2001), pushing the boundaries of how we define local food? And in what ways do immigrant farmers and laborers find and create cultural, affective, and strategic value in agriculture and construct their food and farming practices as spaces of hybridity and transnational practice? In examining these transnational agriculturalists, their identities, and practices, this panel also seeks to challenge and expand upon the traditional ways that the positive futures associated with alternative food systems are conceived.  

Organizers of this panel are doctoral students who work with immigrant farmers and farm laborers in the Northwest and Southeastern U.S., respectively. We invite a variety of perspectives on the ways in which identities are articulated through or remade by engagement with food systems and political and folk-ecologies across multiple scales.   Interested participants should send an abstract of no more than 250 words to both Emily Ramsey (emily.ramsey@uga.edu) and Alex Korsunsky (alexander.s.korsunsky@vanderbilt.edu) no later than February 21, 2019. In addition to the abstract, include the title of the paper, the author’s name, affiliation, and email.

Conference Logistics: The conference takes place at the Hilton Caribe in San Juan, Puerto Rico from May 2-5, 2019. Students and local residents can participate in the conference for free, while underemployed faculty members qualify for a reduced registration rate. Membership in SANA or SUNTA is not required to participate. Registration for the conference must be made by March 1st, 2019 at 3pm EST to submit an abstract and participate.  

Reference Escobar, Arturo. 2001. “Culture sits in places: Reflections on globalism and subaltern strategies of localization.” Political Geography 20: 139-174.

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