[csaa-forum] CFP, Special Issue of Food and Foodways, Food, Memory and Narratives

Paul Allatson Paul.Allatson at uts.edu.au
Tue Nov 5 11:42:06 CST 2013

Cfp: Food and Foodways, Routledge

Special Issue: Food, Memory and Narratives

Edited by Meredith Abarca and Joshua Colby, University of Texas at El Paso

Foods we encounter throughout our life cycle leave memories that affect our past, influence our present, and shape our future. Food memories speak through our senses; they are performed physically through our bodies; they reflect a visceral self-awareness. Food memories have the ability to nourish or starve us physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually depending on the narrative interpretation by which these recollections are re-created. In short, food memories have the capacity to mark the narratives of our lives.

But how and why do food memories shape the narratives of our lives? Simone Smith and Julia Watson in Reading Autobiography (2010) define a food-centered narrative as gastrography: a "food memoir [that] incorporates food-laced memories that feed readers' desire to redefine [themselves]." This definition raises a central topic that we seek to examine: what is it about food and the memories it evokes that awaken a desire to both define and re-define who we are? Historically, and across social economic classes and ethnicities, this form of food self-expression and self-definition is one that women have employed: how does gender influence memories of food? Food is a powerful symbolic concept, but one inseparable from material reality. How do these two functions play out when presented as memories informing a person's life narrative? Since memories are never replicas of past experiences but interpretations of them, how do recollections rewrite a given food experience and in doing so change its symbolic and material value?

In an effort to examine the complex ways that food memories mark the stories of our lives, we seek submissions that address the following issues:

* How and why do food memories invite, create and challenge nostalgic feelings about home, and thus reimagine the very meaning of home?

* What function does sharing personal and private food memories with others in the forms of memoirs, cook books, or televised food shows serve?

* Why and how do food memories invite us to redefine our subjectivity?

* For women, food memories, memoirs, and other forms of food narratives are rich vehicles of expression, probably more so than for men. Why is this the case, and how does gender affect food memory and the tendency to use food narratives as a form of self-expression?

* Memories are voluntary and involuntary and can either authenticate or destabilize past experiences. Some theoreticians of memory argue that paradoxically in the process of recalling past experiences our memory validates them. But it is also our memory that questions those long-ago lived moments. With the passing of time, our recollections of a single event change. Are food memories prone to this paradox? If so, how does this affect our reading of food memories embedded in someone's life narrative?

* Can we speak of food memory as another sense? If so, how does it work and how do we engage in the world through it?

* Even if narratives are located in the past they remain important sources of identification. How does the past acquire a present dimension and project a future in food memories?

* How do people's travels (voluntarily or not) frame their food memories and the stories these tell?


Papers should be 20-30 pages doubled spaced (6000-9000 words), including references and notes. They should be written in clear jargon-free prose accessible to our international and interdisciplinary audience, cite relevant disciplinary and food studies literature, and include a 150-200 word abstract. A separate title page should accompany the submission with author's name, email, and contact information and a statement that the paper has not been published nor submitted simultaneously for publication elsewhere. Author's identity should not appear anywhere in the paper. All papers will be subject to double blind peer review according to the following criteria:

* Originality of conception and significance of questions asked; * Quality of methodology and sources; * Vigor and cogency of argument; * Felicity of style and organization; * Contributions to the field of foodways research.

Abstract Submission Deadline: March 15, 2014 (500 to 600 words)

Manuscript Submission Deadline: September 15, 2014 (6000 to 9000 words)

For further questions and submissions contact the Special Issue Editors: Meredith E. Abarca at mabarca at utep.edu and Joshua R. Colby at jrcolby at miners.utep.edu

UTS CRICOS Provider Code: 00099F
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