1-3 December 2016
Venue: Forum Transregionale Studien Berlin, Wallotstraße 14, 14193 Berlin
Convenor: Sarah Ruth Sippel (Universität Leipzig)
Co-convenors: Nicolette Larder (University of New England),
Cornelia Reiher (Freie Universität Berlin) and Felipe Roa-Clavijo (University of Oxford)
While a vital part of our everyday lives, the future of food is insecure: agriculture and food are currently being shaped by the culmination of multiple crises related to new energy policies, financial turmoil, and climatic hazards. Prevailing food insecurity and the question how agriculture and food should be organised within society are at the very heart of food networks and movements, which have been emerging all over the world in recent years. While all aim at developing alternatives to the current food system, research on these networks and movements together with the existing interlinkages, particularly when it comes to North-South divides, rarely are brought together. This workshop aims at addressing these transregional interlinkages and emerging synergies between those actors and groups of people who are building alternative food relationships in different parts of the world.
Today, food networks and movements in various contexts are facing new challenges arising from the increasing complexity of the food system, such as the increasing engagement of financial actors in agrifood. However, they are also making use of new transregional spaces that are offering new possibilities for transregional networking and alliance building. The increasing degree of international connectedness has manifold implications in relation to the spread of knowledge about power structures in global food production, experiences in terms of campaigning and advocation, as well as the exchange of alternative visions of agriculture and food production, such as food sovereignty or how to achieve food justice.
The workshop has three main questions to understand alternative food networks and movements, especially those across North-South divides:
1) What kinds of alternatives to the current food system are being developed in different world regions and what are their visions of agriculture and food? This question is discussed by bringing together empirical insights on food networks and movements from different regional contexts – from Latin America as the ‘cradle’ of the food sovereignty movement, to Japan where consumer movements have become particularly powerful after the Fukushima nuclear disaster, to Australia and Germany where the idea of food sovereignty has more recently been picked up and is being brought into national debates about food.
2) What kinds of transregional synergies are emerging within these contexts, how are transregional alliances being organised, and what are the opportunities and challenges of these interconnections? This question is explored by considering two major topics that have fostered transregional networking and alliances in recent years: the increasing investments in natural resources such as land, on the one hand, and the new round of preferential trade agreements (e.g., TTIP, TPP) challenging food standards, on the other.
3) How can the intersections between these different fields of expertise be used in a fruitful way to improve our understanding of the future of food? This question is addressed by considering the conceptual challenges of studying transregional food networks and movements from interdisciplinary perspectives that combine insights from various disciplines (e.g., sociology, human geography, anthropology) with area studies perspectives and transregional approaches.
The workshop aims at bringing together researchers who will contribute both empirical and analytical insights from different world regions while stressing the transregional synergies and cross-continental inspirations. We thus look for innovative and empirically grounded as well as conceptual contributions. The workshop will further address a broader audience of government officials, representatives of civil society organisations, food practitioners, and activists. Funds will be available to support participants presenting invited talks.
The workshop is part of the strategic cooperation between the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung – Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland. It will take place at the Forum Transregionale Studien in Berlin from 1 to 3 December 2016. You are invited to submit an abstract of 300 words by 30 April 2016 to sippel [at] uni-leipzig.de.