Call for papers for conference, “Food Technologies Past and Present”
The Roger Smith Conferences on Food (formerly the Roger Smith Cookbook Conference) invites proposals for the conference, "Food Technologies Past and Present," which will take place on April 4-6, 2014 at the Roger Smith Hotel in New York City.
The organizers of Food Technologies Past and Present welcome proposals for either general suggestions about possible panel discussions or presentations on individual topics. We offer a few remarks that may help clarify the intended focus for potential participants:
In the first place, we understand "technologies" in the broadest possible sense, to embrace virtually any imaginable means that humans have devised, or may devise in future, in order to make use of food. Human societies from prehistory to the twenty-first century could scarcely have had food at all without some form of food technology. The first Paleolithic peoples who cracked nuts with a rock or cooked meat by fire were employing food technology just as surely as modern madcaps cooking on the car radiator a la "Manifold Destiny," manufacturers processing and packaging dehydrated army rations, or cutting-edge chefs inventing "foams."
Anything within this very broad framework is fair game. We hope to see proposals on food production, processing, storage, and distribution as well as culinary practices at any stage from prehistoric civilizations to the present moment, any known area of land or sea or outer space. For more specific guidance in submitting proposals, we have drawn up a list of topics and questions that participants may wish to consider.
-- Farming practices, including all means of crop or livestock management and all tools or machinery designed for those ends or allied purposes such as soil cultivation, pest control, fertilization, or irrigation.
-- Genetic manipulation of crops and livestock by either pre-modern or futuristic means.
-- Food processing practices, starting with such traditional examples as hulling, grinding, salting, smoking, and fermenting.
-- Cooking techniques and equipment, from grilling on a stick over a fire to the development of highly specialized modern technologies.
-- The path from farm or workshop to point of final sale: means of storage, transport, distribution, and selling facilities throughout many eras from Neolithic times to the present.
-- Transmission of food-centered knowledge and skills, from preliterate word-of-mouth methods to advanced cyber-technologies.
-- What is food? How have technological developments (including many in agriculture and processing) shaped the very idea of what can be considered food? Or "natural" and "unprocessed" versus "altered" and "processed" food?
-- How has technological development confirmed or reshaped the roles of gender, class, race, and/or ethnicity in both the food industry and everyday consumer habits?
-- How have developments in food science and technology allowed greater control over the physical properties of food, and affected the ways in which consumers taste and experience food?
-- How has technological change redefined the role of labor in getting food from the farm and factory to the home? What effects has it had on working conditions, employer-employee relationship, and ideas about production/manufacturing of food, as well as fundamental relationships between humans and their food?
-- How did a global food network develop, and how have food-related technologies (flash-freezing, supply-chain management systems, and many others) affected the availability and accessibility of different food products across the globe?
-- Given the intricacies of globalized food distribution as well as increasingly complex packaged-food technologies, how are we to view the place of technology in establishing national or international standards and regulations? Is the net effect one of enhanced or impaired food safety and quality?
-- How are we to view the role of the state (meaning governments at local, state, federal, and sometimes international levels) in the intersections of politics, business, and foodways that go to create official regulations and policies? How have political decisions influenced (or been influenced by) the development and use of food-related technologies?
Other ideas undoubtedly will occur to people; please send us your proposals for individual presentations or ways of organizing individual panels with several speakers (listing potential panelists, if you wish, though the organizers will determine final panel makeup). Our goal is a diverse, stimulating exchange of ideas. We welcome both scholarly papers suitable for future publication and more informal presentations.
Proposals should be limited to 300 words or less and should be sent no later than October 1, 2013 to . A short resume or c.v, should accompany the proposal. Submitters will be advised on or before November 1 whether their proposal has been accepted.
Andrew F. Smith
Andrew F. Smith
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