The Universal Exposition, which will bring millions of visitors to the city of Milan between 1 May and 31 October2015, is around the corner. The Expo will mainly focus on the issue of food, as it is an indubitable fact that all around the world there are people who have too much of it, but, on the other hand, also people who still have too little.
“Feeding the Planet – Energy for Life” is the Expo’s motto, and it opens an extensive challenge to the present and the future of global nutrition. It chiefly concentrates on the promotion of the right to food, fostering innovative practices and policies related to the culture of food. The participating countries will be engaged in agriculture, industrial production, trade, cultural and scientific research, in order to identify new models and strategies to ensure a healthy, sufficient and sustainable nutrition to all humanity.
Consequently, it is clear that the main purpose of Expo 2015 is to relaunch the international struggle against hunger, with the aim to halve the number of people who suffer from it on a global scale.
However, in a sort of paradoxical euphemism, it is our opinion that Expo’s communication strategies do not adequately focus on the term which best summarizes its programmatic guidelines: “hunger”.
According to the data provided by the specialized bodies working within UN and FAO involved in the “World Food Program”, 842 million people suffer from lack of food worldwide. The food crisis affects 552 million people in Asia, 227 million in Africa, 47 million in Latin America and 16 million in industrialised countries. Hunger is the major world health problem, and is directly responsible for the death of 7 to 8 million people per year, 45% of whom are children below 5 years old. In addition, insufficient physical development, deterioration and lack of vitamins and minerals increase the development of diseases and the consequential mortality rate of several more millions of people. These data are indeed common knowledge, but, in spite of this, it looks like the world public opinion has almost become accustomed to this tragic reality.
There are some major threats that need to be fought in order to promote the culture of food as a primary right for everyone. The most important ones are: the complex and unfair mechanisms for allocating goods and territories, the difficulties for peasants to have access to resources for agricultural production (such as land, water, tools), the monopolies related to entry into market and the competition with big multinationals, as well as war scenarios, which can destabilise local productions and forms of food provision, and, finally, natural catastrophes which affect our planet ever more frequently.
This issue of Other Modernities stems from the intention to reframe the reflection originated from Expo not so much on food, but rather on the lack of it, therefore on hunger, in its different expressions and cultural, literary and artistic representations.
The importance of nutrition - and all its different facets - in our daily lives has inspired many literary and artistic works. Among these, the hunger paradigm – be it real or metaphoric – holds a privileged position. Starting from fables and the most popular masks of the commedia dell’arte, to better known contemporary heroes and anti-heroes, atavistic hunger has accompanied the history of art and literature, giving back a deep reflection on our world and on different modes of being in the world. At the same time, through the power of words, contemporary literary and artistic forms have deeply explored the geo-historical and socio-political issues linked to the lack of food in different areas of our planet.
Hence the need to reflect on the topic of hunger as it is currently represented by cultures, arts and literatures, along the following lines:
Barriers to food access in the world: wars, environmental disasters, collapse of the ecosystems
Land-related problems: private property and access to resources
Too much food and lack of it in the global era
Representations of the body in absence of real or symbolic food
Starving/dehumanizing: from prisons to concentration camps.
Hunger and violence
Hunger and migrations
Real hunger and metaphysical hunger
Real hunger and metaphorical hunger: appetites and passions
Should potential contributors submit other proposals on the topic, they will be taken into consideration by the Scientific Committee, with a view to enriching the investigation of the current issue of the review with the most articulated and original suggestions.
Abstracts, alongside a list of bibliographical references (between 10 and 20 lines long) and a short CV, should be submitted to the email address firstname.lastname@example.org no later than 30th September 2014.
Acceptance of contributions will be notified by 15th October 2014.
The deadline for submission of papers is 30th January 2015.
The issue will be published by late May 2015.
We also welcome book reviews and interviews to authors and scholars who investigate the aforementioned topics.
Contributors are free to contact the editors to discuss and clarify the objectives of their proposals, with a view to making the issue as homogeneous as possible also from a methodological point of view. The editors can be contacted via the Editorial Secretary (email@example.com).
UniversitÓ degli Studi di Milano
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