CFP: RGS-IBG AC17: Food in Urban Africa

CFP: RGSIBG Annual International Conference 2017: Decolonizing geographical knowledges, London, 29 August to 1 September.

Sponsored by the Food Geographies Working Group. 

Food is fundamental to human life everywhere, not only in terms of biology but also in terms of society and culture. In recent years, scholarship on food has grown dramatically as researchers explore how what we grow, buy, cook and eat illuminates many other social dynamics including power relations, deeply-held beliefs, and intimate relationships. Geographers especially have noted that our food systems also shape the places in which we live and how we imagine them, but the complex connections between food and place in the global South, and specifically in Africa, are poorly understood. Given that the African continent is urbanising about twice as fast as most other world regions, and given also that discourses on food in Africa continue to be dominated by rural imaginaries and narratives of production, it is critical that we develop a robust understanding of the dynamics driving the ways in which urban citizens source, eat, and think about their food. This session aims to explore both how food might illuminate broader urban processes, and how the spaces of the city shape the ways in which food is distributed, sold, bought and consumed. With an explicitly decolonial lens, the session also aims critically to interrogate the dominance of food theories emerging from the global North and to generate a vibrant conversation about the value that ‘Southern theory’ may add to emerging debates on food.

 The session may include, but is not limited to, any of the topics below as they relate to food and African cities:

  • Historical perspectives including colonial, postcolonial and apartheid-era dynamics
  • Race and identity
  • Interrogating Northern theory
  • Memory and culture
  • Policy and governance
  • Food as a lens to understand the African urban transition
  • Diverse economies including formal, informal and shadow economies

Please email abstracts of no more than 250 words to both the organisers by Wednesday 8 February 2017.

Shari Daya and Gareth Haysom,  University of Cape Town

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