Call for Contributions
French Cultural Studies Special Issue
This special issue, titled “Food and the French Empire,” encompasses the production, consumption and circulation of specific foodstuffs, cuisines, and recipes across the French colonial empire, from early colonization to post-immigration through multidisciplinary approaches, and with an emphasis on various geographical locales.
Focusing on the global history of French food and foodways (practices associated with food and eating) during colonization promotes an understanding of the role played by the food trade in the success and maintenance of empire. The cultivation of commodity food crops reshaped landscapes and affected land ownership. Foodstuff ranging from rice to wine, or brands such as Banania and Picon, became the empire’s most ubiquitous commodities. Their advertisement, distribution, and consumption contributed to French discussions and perceptions of the colonial enterprise.
This issue will explore how such exchanges shape the definition of imperial and national values. Food--as a material object of study, a symbol and a lens to explore social, political, cultural, and economic issues--generates a renewed understanding of the the history of colonialism and its aftermath in its everyday, embodies manifestations. Indeed, when the theoretical lens accommodates for notions of mutual, if unequal, influence and co-production in the culinary realm, the focus on colonial culinary encounters and the changes they brought about provides a corrective to the dominant paradigm of the West locked in opposition to its others. Foodways offer a window to observe the porous boundaries between colonizers and colonized, in intimate domestic exchanges. A more complex image of the balance of power in the colonial exchange emerges, whereby the colonized are not robbed of all agency and colonial masters appear dependent on the natives for their sustenance. Furthermore, culinary exoticism with its promotion of a positive representation of the encounter with an ethnic, racialized, (post)colonial “Other” opens a rich field of inquiry into issues of authenticity, domination, ingestion and a channel to sort out societal anxieties about ethnic and racial identities, cultural influence and change.
Possible themes and subjects including, but not limited to the following:
· The invention of French gastronomic cuisine and the assimilation of foreign dishes
· Sugar: production, consumption, representations
· Specific foodstuff and preparation: nuocmam, harissa, rhum, mint tea, rice, etc.
· Specific brands: Picon, Banania
· Fruits of empire and desserts
· Iconic French foodstuffs overseas
· Culinary creolizations
· Colonial cookbooks
· Wine and viticulture in Colonial Algeria and after Independence
· Halal meat in France
· Dietary restrictions under colonial rule.
· Migrants’ food.
· Representations of native and colonial food in literature and cinema
· Dialectics of disgust and appetite
To tackle issues such as:
· Food and power: how has food production and consumption helped to determine the global distribution and control of resources? Food as a link between the personal and the political
· Definitions of what constitutes a cuisine. How to read cookbooks and recipes?
· Reassess (post)colonial domination through the prism of everyday food consumption.
· Food production and consumption as an extension of colonial propaganda: making the empire palatable
· Food, nation, migration: eating the other/eating to become other; culinary tourism and colonialism; food and national/ethnic identity; acculturation and resistance through food, gastropolitics
· Culinary exoticism, authenticity and domestication; the trope of métissage in cuisine; fusion cuisine; gastro-ethnicity.
· The poetics and politics of food: magical food, the power of culinary discourses, recipes and cookbooks, food films.
· Critique and analysis of the “Food film”
· How to read and conceptualize the role of the non-visual senses in diasporic cinema and visual cultures.
This special issue will gather up to eight articles of 5,000 to 7,000 words, in English and in French, from scholars working across the disciplines with a focus on French and Francophone studies.
Editor: Sylvie Durmelat, Georgetown University.
Timeline:Proposals for articles can be submitted in French or in English to firstname.lastname@example.org. The proposal should be 500 words and should include the subject of your article, the main questions and the sources it will use. Please include a brief bibliography of five appropriate references, and attach a two-page curriculum vitae to your submission.
Deadline for proposals: September 30, 2013
Response by October 31, 2013
Full texts due by March 15, 2014.
Associate Professor of French and Francophone Studies
Washington DC, 20057 USA