The Meaning of Food: Exchanges

full name / name of organization: 
Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association
contact email: 

From photosynthesis to fermentation, consumption to digestion, harvest to market, food ritual to edible gifts, food exists in a constant state of exchange. Increasing numbers of artists and scholars have turned their attention to the ways that food conveys and contests cultural values. This panel seeks papers that analyze representations of food exchanges, including economic transactions; material, social, chemical, and symbolic exchanges; actual or imagined meals; and historical shifts in food distribution or access (including colonial and postcolonial exchanges). What are the cultural implications of food exchanges? How do eating patterns of humans and other animals interact with place or landscape? How do the affective bonds generated by food exchanges translate into political (in)action? And what do representations of food exchanges demonstrate in arts and literature?

Essays on the panel may read food exchanges from various periods and forms: including fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry, film, digital media, and art, as well as comparative approaches.

For abstract submissions (of 350 words) or for further inquiry, please email Paul Bindel at

Abstract deadline: April 15, 2010
Conference Date and Location: Albuquerque, NM, October 14-16, 2010