Towards decolonial transdisciplinary research: The humanities in food studies

Date: November 21, 2019

CALL FOR ABSTRACTS - "The humanities in food studies" mini-conference is hosted by the Critical Food Studies Programme: Transdisciplinary Humanities Approaches



DATE: 21 November 2019

VENUE: Life Science Auditorium, UWC

Humanities-driven food studies open up unique pathways for analysing hybridised social identities, contemporary cultural dynamics, and discourses embedded in or emanating from processes such as transnational capitalist development, globalisation, migration or bi-lateral trade.

Much food studies work in South Africa and elsewhere in Africa focuses more on hunger-related and nutritional issues, rather than on broad humanities-oriented ways of considering how human beings relate to or experience food in socially determined ways. It is noteworthy that centrality of food to all societies makes it a crucial focus for transdisciplinary studies that include how food and eating are implicated in identity construction; how eating and food items are represented in the mass media or literature and the arts; histories of how we think about food, diets and taste.

In trying to fill the research gap in food studies, we invite postgraduate students i.e. Honours, Masters and PhD students who are working on food-related research, to this mini-conference.

The main purpose of the event is to encourage intimate conversations about individual students’ work-in-progress, as well as their engagement with areas of relevance to interdisciplinary food studies, namely feminist theoretical and methodological work and the diverse sources of knowledge about food.

Among the areas for student presentations are:

  • Gender, Feminism and Food Studies
  • Food Knowledges, Ecofeminism and Indigenous Knowledge Systems
  • Consumer identities, Foodscapes and Food ways in Urban Contexts
  • Foodways in relation to Literary, Visual and Popular Cultural Texts/ The Materiality of Food and its
    Visual Representation.

Forward abstracts of not more than 300 words to foodpoliticsandcultures17@gmail.com by the 30th of August 2019. Expressions of interest in attending as audience to this event are also welcome, and should be sent to the email address above by the 15th of September 2019.

In addition to the mini-conference proceedings, participants will have the opportunity to attend two linked events:

  • a performance by UWC women students titled “My Daily Bread”- (first performed at the Grahamstown festival), to be performed on the 21st of November 2019 soon after the Mini-Conference and;
  • the first postgraduate Women and Genders Studies Conference titled: Feminist Research Alive in Academia 1st Annual Conference on November 22nd 2019 (Email: Feminismalive@gmail.com).


This project is funded by the Mellon Foundation and the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security

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We recognise that producers, processors, distributors and consumers are incorporated into the food system under varying terms and returns. We also recognise the economic, social, human and environmental health impacts associated with food security. Therefore our goal is to conduct research, build capacity and disseminate findings that will promote a sustainable food system in South Africa.


Our research is concerned with the scale, nature, causes and consequences of food insecurity in South Africa and elsewhere on the African continent. Thus our mission is to investigate products, technologies, processes and policies that can reduce food insecurity and mitigate its negative outcomes. We seek to make a difference to food security by linking innovative science with critical enquiry.