Culture & Agriculture

a section of the American Anthropological Association

Category: Uncategorized (Page 1 of 22)

Read the latest issue for free!

Following up on the release of our latest issue of the CAFE journal, Culture & Agriculture is happy to announce that it will be available free to all for the next 2-3 months.

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We are thrilled to share with you the newest issue of Culture, Agriculture, Food, & Environment (CAFE) (vol. 39, no. 1).
This issue features five original research articles, two research reports, and two book reviews:

Introduction
Actor Networks, Celebrity Farmers, Identity Performance, and Super Star Crops
// Brandi Janssen and Stephanie Paladino

Anthropologists are well aware of the blurred boundaries between what is local and global and the complex ways that identity, performance, knowledge, and practice intersect to inform both angles of view. These relationships are particularly evident in networks and systems of agriculture and food production. This issue of CAFE considers how locals respond to, are affected by, and empower themselves in relation to global markets and international development initiatives through their identities, relationships with the plants they cultivate, and the realities of climate change, labor needs, and social and economic inequality.

Articles
The Journey of an Ancestral Seed: The Case of the Lupino Paisano Food Network in Cotopaxi, Ecuador
//Alexandra Martínez‐Flores, Guido Ruivenkamp and Joost Jongerden

Race, Status, and Biodiversity: The Social Climbing of Quinoa
// Deborah Andrews

“Show Farmers”: Transformation and Performance in Telangana, India
// Andrew Flachs

Losing Labor: Coffee, Migration, and Economic Change in Veracruz, Mexico
// David Griffith, Patricia Zamudio Grave, Rosalba Cortés Viveros, Jerónimo Cabrera Cabrera

The Fate of an Old Water System in the New Era of Climate Change and Market Imperatives in Southwest China
// Ann Maxwell Hill and Kelin Zhuang

Research Reports
A Typology for Investigating the Effects of Sturgeon Aquaculture on Conservation Goals
// Richard Apostle

The Story of Tapyo: The Alkaline Salt Substitute of the Apatanis of Arunachal Pradesh, India
// Rashmirekha Sarma

Book Reviews
Aesop’s Anthropology: A Multispecies Approach
// Reviewed by Deborah Andrews

Cultural Heritage and the Challenge of Sustainability
// Reviewed by Murray J. Leaf

Weekly Gleaning 6/2: Rational Agriculture

Our weekly gleanings present the latest happenings, research and writing along the tangled banks of culture and agriculture.

In 1998 Alfred Gell gave his opinion on what anthropology does best:

Anthropology is, to put it bluntly, considered good at provided close-grained analysis of apparently irrational behavior, performances, utterances, etc

Some have questioned farmer support for Donald Trump as such “apparently irrational” behavior, particularly in light of proposed budget cuts to the USDA, potential loss of agricultural labor and antagonism towards climate change measures. There is a certain smugness here, that these irrational people are getting what they deserve for making such an obviously wrong decision, against their own self-interest. Perhaps we need more close-grained analysis from anthropologists doing what they “do best”.

Since almost all behavior is, from somebody’s point of view, ‘apparently irrational’ anthropology has, possibly, a secure future

Secretary of Ag Sonny Perdue defends the re-organization (read: demotion?) of rural development within the USDA and the budget proposal

The National Sustainable Agriculture weighs in on the budget and withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement

A new documentary film from FarmAid unravels the 80s farm crisis

Remembering Sydney Mintz

Cacao ceremonies in San Francisco

Exploring the Plantationocene in Malaysia and Indonesia

Weekly Gleaning 3/23: the worm moon

Our weekly gleanings present the latest happenings, research and writing along the tangled banks of culture and agriculture. This week: El Sur Latino, rich farmers and mental health.

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It’s typical of a cultural solar bias that all the attention goes to spring equinox and very little to the worm moon – March’s full moon – so called because the soil is beginning to be workable by worm and human alike. Following the frost heaves of a politically (and existentially) disruptive winter, a new growing season invites us to get our hands back in the earth. In some ways this invites novel practices of academics, activists and food producers alike – check out the anthropology read-in group and Carole McGranahan on going rogue. In other ways it’s familiar terrain: farmers struggling with mental health and retirement; health of migrant farm labor (also in Sicily); unrest over environmental regulations. Here in Utah the cherries are blossoming.

The earthworms awakened under the worm moon generate bioturbation – productive disruptions. What productive disruptions are in store this season? If we need some optimism about what the spring might bring, perhaps there’s no better place to look than New Zealand, where Te Awa Tupua (the Whanganui River) has been declared a legal person.

// in other news //

The United States joins International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources, after a 14 year ratification process

A list of the world’s richest farmers

Southern Foodways Alliance series on El Sur Latino

The National Academies publish a response to an analysis that found conflicts of interest in the Acadamies’ Committee on Genetically Engineered Crops

Call For Papers/Workshops – Initiatives in Critical Agrarian Studies

International Colloquium: The future of food and challenges for agriculture in the 21st century

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When: 24-26, 2017
Where: Vitoria-Gasteiz, Basque Country
Who: La Via Campesina, Transnational Institute, International Institute for Social Studies, EHNE Bizkaia (Basque farmers union), Etxalde (Basque food sovereignty movement)

Find more information here
Submissions to [email protected]

Thematic Axes

1 Capitalism, class, agriculture, livestock and fisheries.
2 Climate Change and convergences.
3 Models of development in the context of flows of capital, goods and people.
4 Access and control over the means of production.
5 Consumption, health, nutrition and the Right to Food.
6 Movements for Food Sovereignty.

 

New CAFE Issue! – Entanglements of Reciprocal Relations

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We’re happy to announce the latest issue of our journal Culture, Agriculture, Food and Environment. Inspired by the recent scholarship of Anna Tsing and others, we’re approaching agriculture as a bundle of relationships, exploring how these entanglements have developed through history and continue to shape current practices of food production.

Volume 38, Issue 2: Entanglements of Reciprocal Relations

Introduction
Entanglements of Reciprocal Relations
// Stephanie Paladino and Brandi Janssen

Articles
From “Genetic Resources” to “Ecosystems Services”: A Century of Science and Global Policies for Crop Diversity Conservation
//Marianna Fenzi and Christophe Bonneuil

How Religion, Race, and the Weedy Agency of Plants Shape Amazonian Home Gardens
// Nicholas C. Kawa

A Semi-Autonomous Mexican Peasant Community and Globalization: The Role of the Cacique (Broker) in Maintaining Traditional Agroecology
// Jean Gilruth-Rivera

Borders Out of Register: Edge Effects in the U.S.–Mexico Foodshed
// Laurel Bellante and Gary Paul Nabhan

Shrimp Aquaculture, Social Capital, and Food Security in Rural Vietnam
// Jessie K. Fly

Research Report
Bringing Farmer Knowledge and Learning into Agricultural Research: How Agricultural Anthropologists Transformed Strategic Research at the International Rice Research Institute
// Lisa Leimar Price and Florencia G. Palis

Book Review
The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing)
// Reviewed by James P. Verinis

I’m Alarmed at How TIAA Is Investing My Retirement Funds

A cross-post from Doug Hertzler, Culture & Agriculture member and senior policy analyst at ActionAid. See the original post here.

Photo Credit: Doug Hertzler/ActionAid

Photo Credit: Doug Hertzler/ActionAid

As a person whose work-life as a teacher and as a public policy analyst has been grounded in anthropology, I am very alarmed at the way in which my retirement funds are being used by the investment firm TIAA (formerly Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association—College Retirement Equities Fund) to undermine rural communities in the United States and many other countries through land speculation and land-grabbing.

I grew up on a farm in rural Pennsylvania where my immediate and extended family farms a wide range of crops including corn, soybeans, vegetables, hay, as well as dairy cattle and other livestock. Unfortunately policies that encouraged larger-scale farming, characterized by mono-cropping and price volatility, have all but destroyed small towns and rural communities across the United States.

Today, a much smaller number of farmers survive in a risky business of specialized farming that often requires leasing larger and larger amounts of land from other farmers who have retired.

Farmers used to be an important economic base that supported communities and local business, but the dwindling number of farm families, coupled with the loss of manufacturing jobs, has torn apart the social fabric of rural communities, towns, and smaller cities across the United States. Over the past year of the U.S. election campaign, we have seen the alienation, anger, and fears that have arisen in these distressed communities.

TIAA holds the retirement money of several million individuals working for several thousand organizations, primarily professors and non-profit workers. In recent years, TIAA has begun buying up farmland as an investment strategy. So far, the company has focused on the United States, Brazil, and Australia.

This strategy means there will be fewer farmers and more farms will be operated by “farm management companies” that lease the land from the investor owner. TIAA is not the only investor buying up farmland, but it is particularly important because of its size, and because it claims to be a responsible investor on behalf of its clients. Yet in Brazil, research has shown that TIAA bought farmland illegally from intermediaries who had grabbed it away from communities.

Anthropologists are interested in how both long term processes and everyday actions affect human life. As an anthropologist who works for a non-profit that brings people together in solidarity to fight for human rights and human dignity, I am interested in seeing anthropological knowledge make an immediate contribution to the struggle for the rights and dignity of rural communities.

A prominent anthropologist was one of the first to document the social and environmental impacts of this type of large-scale leasing of farmland in California way back in 1947. In his book “As You Sow” Walter Goldschmidt, who later became President of the American Anthropological Association, noted:

“The economics of this type of production do not motivate the operator to maintain soil fertility; to consider the welfare of the local community in which his leased lands, nor to have any concern over the long-term welfare of his labor.”

All is not lost in farming communities in the United States. Family farms still exist. In some places like my home areas of Pennsylvania, the number of small farms may actually be increasing thanks in part to religious communities, such as the Amish and Old Order Mennonites. But also many other young farmers are figuring out creative ways to supply markets in nearby towns and cities.

With the right set of policies to support small farms, rural communities could be strengthened and made more prosperous, but this can only happen if large-scale speculation in farmland for investment is stopped and farmland remains available for young people and new farmers.

Fellow anthropologists and fellow TIAA clients, we have an obligation to speak out and demand that TIAA change its practices in land investment and other agricultural investment policies which harm communities or cause deforestation and climate impacts. Please sign this letter to the CEO of TIAA demanding transparency and changes to investment practices.

Once you have signed, please share this letter with TIAA members and faculty colleagues from any academic discipline. Together we can change how our money is invested and give farming communities everywhere a chance to survive and thrive!

Pre/Post-doc Mentoring Workshops with Karen Kelsky @ the AAAs

Good news! Room remains in the Kelsky career development workshops. Register soon and take advantage of the highly subsidized participation fee.

Culture & Agriculture (C&A) and the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN) are excited to announce joint sponsorship of two workshops led by Dr. Karen Kelsky from “The Professor Is In”. These workshops, which she describes below, will offer fora to consider career development strategies, particularly as they relate to matters food/agriculture/ natural resource-related. They will take place on Thursday, November 17th. We will also hold a Mentoring event between the workshops (at noon) for registered participants and interested members of C&A and SAFN.

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ACADEMIC AND POST-ACADEMIC CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR PRE-DOCS: KAREN KELSKY TAKES ON PROFESSIONALIZATION In this workshop I walk you through the conditions of the current American job market, the most common mistakes made by job-seekers, and the ways you can maximize your chances of success while looking for a tenure-track job. We’ll cover: The big-picture conditions of the U.S. tenure track job market, How to think like a search committee, The four core qualities of a successful tenure track job candidate, The all-important 5-Year Plan, The ethos of job market documents, The most common mistakes made by job seekers, The keys to academic interviewing. We’ll also touch on the non-academic option. You’ll leave with a broad understanding of the real (as opposed to fantasy) criteria of tenure track hiring, and how to tailor your record and application materials to maximize your chances of success. Thursday, 11/17- 10:30 AM-12:00 PM

ACADEMIC AND POST-ACADEMIC CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR POST-DOCS: KAREN KELSKY TAKES ON PROFESSIONALIZATION This workshop shows you how to 1) track out a research and teaching trajectory across the 5 years of the tenure track probationary period in an anthropology or related social science position; 2) manage postdoctoral fellowship years while seeking an eventual tenure track position. Focuses on creating an effective Five-Year-Plan, and managing your time to maximize productivity (i.e., working backward from your tenure year to plot out specific publishing goals, or making a postdoc writing schedule with an eye to the job hunt). Also looks at departmental politics, managing colleagues, handling the demands of teaching, and calculating appropriate levels of service. Addresses children and work-life balance. Based on Dr. Karen’s years as a department head mentoring a number of faculty through successful tenure cases. Thursday, 11/17 2:00 -03:30 PM

The AAA workshops are all listed on the website, but the active link for workshop registration is only visible from a member’s personal profile (under “My Payments, Receipts, Transactions & Events”)

Culture and Agriculture at the 2016 AAA meeting

The 115th annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association are in Minneapolis from November 16 through 20. Check out the culture and agriculture sessions below:

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Workshop: ACADEMIC AND POST-ACADEMIC CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR PRE-DOCS: KAREN KELSKY TAKES ON PROFESSIONALIZATION (3-0540)
Thursday, November 17; 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 212B

NETWORKING AND MENTORING IN THE ANTHROPOLOGY OF AGRICULTURE AND FOOD (3-0630)
Thursday, November 17; 12:15 PM – 1:30 PM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 210AB

Workshop: ACADEMIC AND POST-ACADEMIC CAREER DEVELOPMENT FOR POST-DOCS: KAREN KELSKY TAKES ON PROFESSIONALIZATION (3-0990) Thursday, November 17; 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 212B

CULTURE AND AGRICULTURE (C&A) BUSINESS MEETING (3-1345)
Thursday, November 17; 6:15 PM – 7:30 PM
Hilton, Room: Marquette IV

CULTURE AND AGRICULTURE (C&A) RECEPTION (3-1490)
Thursday, November 17; 7:45 PM – 9:00 PM
Offsite: Mission American Restaurant

EXPLORING EVIDENCE, ACCIDENTS, AND DISCOVERIES IN CRITICAL FOOD SYSTEMS EDUCATION (PART 1) (4-0170)
Friday, November 18; 8:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 200C

Invited session: SCATTERED: GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS IN ETHNOGRAPHIC CONTEXT: AFRICA AND THE U.S. (4-0140)
Friday, November 18; 8:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 102EF

Invited session: EXPLORING EVIDENCE, ACCIDENTS, AND DISCOVERIES IN CRITICAL FOOD SYSTEMS EDUCATION (PART 2) (4-0450)
Friday, November 18; 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 102AB

SCATTERED: GENETICALLY MODIFIED CROPS IN ETHNOGRAPHIC CONTEXT, LATIN AMERICA (4-0565)
Friday, November 18; 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 210AB

Invited session: EVALUATING THE EVIDENCE FOR CLIMATE JUSTICE:  CARBON OFFSETS, FOREST GOVERNANCE, AND THE AFTERMATH OF COP-21 (4-1205)
Friday, November 18; 4:00 PM – 5:45 PM
Hilton, Room: Salon C

ECONOMIC AND ENVIRONMENTAL NEGOTIATIONS IN CONTEMPORARY U.S. AGRICULTURE (5-0150)
Saturday, November 19; 8:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 200F

NEW DIRECTIONS IN CULTURE, AGRICULTURE, AND FOOD: CHANGING TECHNOLOGIES AND GLOBAL MARKETS (5-0095)
Saturday, November 19; 8:00 AM – 9:45 AM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 102C

Invited session: ANTHROPOLOGICAL INTERROGATIONS OF THE UN’S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS (5-0335)
Saturday, November 19; 10:15 AM – 12:00 PM
Hilton, Room: Marquette VIII

CONFRONTING THE GOLDILOCKS PROBLEM: (RE-)DISCOVERING THE MIDDLE IN ANTHROPOLOGICAL STUDIES OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE (5-1110)
Saturday, November 19; 4:00 PM – 5:45 PM
Minneapolis Convention Center, Room: 206AB

Hands on the Land – Young Researchers Program

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Deadline: Monday, September 19

https://handsontheland.net/young-researchers-program/

The Young Researchers Program, a mentorship programme by the Hands On the Land Alliance in cooperation with TNI, FIAN International and Friends of the Earth, is open for applications until the 19th of September. This program enables young engaged scholars and activists to strengthen their capacities around understanding food sovereignty and the human right to food, including opportunities for peer-to-peer learning, benefitting from the experience of mentors, and the opportunity to attend two main events as part of the research process.

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