AAG 2012 CFP – Theorizing the Geographies of Food: New Directions and Interventions for Alternative Food Praxis

The past several years have witnessed a growth in scholarly interest
and debates around ‘alternative’ geographies of food, mirroring the
increasing popularity of initiatives such as community supported
agriculture, urban agriculture, farmer’s markets, school gardens, fair
trade, etc.  The result has been an abundance of research critically
assessing the limitations and possibilities of alternative systems of
food production and provision, providing perspectives that reveal the
contested nature of alterity in food systems, as well as the
multivalent and even contradictory politics such systems condone.
However, the various and sometimes conflicting theoretical
perspectives guiding these studies remain under-examined.  A closer
examination and discussion across theoretical perspectives is
especially important to highlight how different approaches guide
activism and research.

In this session we seek theoretically informed papers which deal
broadly (but not exclusively) on the themes of power, ethics,
difference, livelihoods, contestation and transformative possibilities
in alternative geographies of food. Rather than focusing on whether or
not particular case studies are transformative, or particular
empirical evidence illustrative, we want to turn our focus directly on
the theories of alternative food research. We want to understand why
researchers choose particular theoretical lenses, and how these
theoretical lenses (can) contribute to furthering alternative food
activism and transforming the geographies of food. What are the
implications of using different theoretical perspectives for the
practice of alternative food? What makes a certain theoretical
perspective useful or compelling for alternative food research and for
alternative food activism? In sum, we would like to interrogate what
theories academics and activists find useful and why, not only for
explaining what they are seeing but ultimately for urging alternative
food practice in new directions.

In so doing we would like to make stronger connections to recent
theoretical debates in geography, as well as to build upon existing
literature in rural geography and sociology. The following is a
(non-exhaustive) list of possible approaches proposed papers could

Actor Network Theory
Theories of Consumption
Conventions theory
Political Economy
Political Ecology
Critical Race Theory
Visceral geographies

Anyone interested in presenting a paper in this session should contact
the organizers and submit an abstract of up to 250 words to Jessica
Hayes-Conroy (jhayesco@gmail.com), Renata Blumberg (blum0135@umn.edu)
and Allison Hayes-Conroy (anhc@temple.edu) by September 6th, 2011.

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