International Workshop - Ethical Foods and Food Movements in Postsocialist Settings

Key information

5:00 pm to 7:30 pm
Russell Square: College Buildings
116 / B111

About this event

The spread of capitalist agri-food systems has had a massive impact on the production, distribution and consumption of food around the world, not least in post/late socialist countries, where the state had dominated the food economy and had used food as a key mechanism of political control, social engineering and moral education. Focusing on food, this workshop explores the ways in which post/late socialist citizens are engaging with the changing opportunities and constraints brought about by neoliberal reforms and international regulatory regimes. It examines the discourses on food and morality; the material and social practices surrounding food production, trade and consumption; and the role of movements promoting vegetarianism, fair trade, Slow Food, organics and natural foods. The workshop brings together anthropologists, qualitative sociologists, cultural geographers, and environmental scientists working in countries including Bulgaria, China, Cuba, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Russia, and Vietnam.

The workshop is co-organized by:

Dr. Yuson Jung (Wayne State University, Michigan)
Dr. Jakob A. Klein (SOAS)
Professor Melissa L. Caldwell (University of California, Santa Cruz)

Funded by grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the SOAS Faculty of Arts and Humanities

The workshop is open to the public. However, places are limited. To book a place, please contact Jakob Klein ( jk2@soas.ac.uk ). Please describe your interest in the workshop and specify which day(s) or panel(s) you wish to attend.

Provisional programme

Wednesday, 11th May

17.00- 19.00 Registration/Welcoming Reception (presenters and discussants)

Thursday, 12th May
SOAS, Russell Square Campus, Room 116

9.30-10.15 Registration; Coffee/tea & biscuits

10.15 – 10.30 Introductions

10.30-12.30 Panel 1: Food as Moral and Political Discourse in Everyday Life
Chair: Jakob Klein (SOAS)

10.30-11.30 Ellen Oxfeld (Middlebury College): ‘Food as Moral Discourse in Reform Era Rural China’
Discussant: Hans Steinmuller (LSE)

11.30-12.30 Nir Avieli (Ben Gurion University): ‘Vegetarian Ethics and Politics in Postsocialist Vietnam’
Discussant: Marina Marouda (SOAS)

12.30-14.00 Lunch (presenters and discussants)

14.00-16.00 Panel 2: Practices and Discourses of Self-Provisioning
Chair: Yuson Jung (Wayne State University)

14.00-15.00 Melissa L. Caldwell (University of California, Santa Cruz): ‘Growing the Nation: Fresh Food, Organic Capitalism, and Community Organizing in Russian Gardens’
Discussant: Ruth Mandel (University College London)

15.00-16.00 Petr Jehlicka and Joe Smith (Open University): ‘Shelf Life: Postsocialism, Food Self-Provisioning and the Politics of Sustainable Consumption in Czechia’
Discussant: Peter Jackson (Sheffield University)

16.00-16.15 Coffee/tea & biscuits

16.15-18.15 Panel 3: Food and the Politics of Place

Chair: Melissa L. Caldwell (University of California, Santa Cruz)

16.15-17.15 Nadezhda Savova (Princeton University): ‘Slow Fast Food: Arts and Rhythm in the Commensality of World Food Movements’
Discussant: Susan Pattie (University College London)

17.15-18.15 Katy Fox (University of Aberdeen): ‘Branding Peasant Produce: On the Ethics of Endogeny and Exogeny in rural Romania’
Discussant: Harry West (SOAS)

19.00 Dinner (presenters and discussants)

Friday, 13th May
SOAS, Brunei Gallery, Room B111

9.00-9.15 Coffee/tea & biscuits

9.15-11.15 Panel 4: Regulation, Risk, and Moral Economies

Chair: Melissa L. Caldwell (University of California, Santa Cruz)

9.15-10.15 Yuson Jung (Wayne State University): ‘Ambivalent Consumers and the Limits of Certification: Organic Food Movement in Postsocialist Bulgaria’

Discussant: Peter Jackson (Sheffield University)

10.15-11.15 Diana Mincyte (Yale University): ‘Homogenizing Europe: The Politics of Milk, Risks, and the Moral State in Post-socialist Lithuania’
Discussant: Harry West (SOAS)

11.15-11.30 Coffee/tea & biscuits

11.30- 13.30 Panel 5: Governance, Ethics and Identity

Chair: Jakob Klein (SOAS)

11.30-12.30 Zsuzsa Gille (University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign): ‘Whose Ethics? Whose Labour? Whose Food?: The Boycott of Hungarian Foie Gras’
Discussant: Harry West (SOAS)

12.30-13.30 Kathryn De Master (Brown University): ‘Shifting Identities in a Post-Accession Landscape: Convergences of Eco-modernity and Tradition in the Polish Organic Sector’
Discussant: Peter Luetchford (University of Sussex)

13.30-15.00 Lunch (presenters and discussants)

15.00-18.15 Panel 6: Constructing Communities and Places through “Alternative” Food Networks
Chair: Yuson Jung (Wayne State University)

15.00-16.00 Marisa Wilson (University of the West Indies) ‘Common Symbols, Different Meanings: Civic Agriculture and Community in the US and Cuba’
Discussant: Peter Luetchford (University of Sussex)

16.00-16.15 Coffee/tea & biscuits

16.15-17.15 Jakob Klein (SOAS): ‘Reconnecting with the Countryside? “Alternative” Food Movements with Chinese Characteristics’
Discussant: Susan Pattie (University College London)

17.15-18.15 Renata Blumberg (University of Minnesota) ‘The Spatial Life of Alternative Food Networks: Place, Scale and Networks in Postsocialist Latvia and Lithuania’
Discussant: Peter Jackson (Sheffield University)

18.15-18.45 Concluding comments

19:30 Dinner (presenters and discussants)