Critical Reflections on Food Deserts and Food Access: Call for Papers

ASFS/AFHVS 2014 – CFP: Critical Reflections on Food Deserts and Food Access

Panel Organizers:

Justin Myers, PhD & Christine C Caruso, PhD, MPH, MA

Increasingly, debates about food have expanded beyond the traditional topics of ecological sustainability, supporting small farmers, and voting with your fork towards concerns over the accessibility to and affordability of healthy food in lower income urban communities.  The term “food desert” has subsequently become a central figure of speech taken up by advocates, policy makers and scholars to describe these underserved neighborhoods. Alongside this new concept, combating food deserts has become the social problem of our time, with different types of food desert projects proposed as means to address obesity rates, youth unemployment, incarceration rates, civic engagement, cultural autonomy, fruit and vegetable consumption, educational attainment, and so on. However, the term food desert is itself a complex social issue and site of political struggle, with a host of actors contesting its definition, measurement, political efficacy, and discursive usage, as well as the political projects put forth to address the supposed deficiencies associated with communities labeled as food deserts.  This call for papers requests abstracts that speak to the on-the-ground efforts to alter the food environments of supposed food deserts, with specific attention to the politics of food deserts as both a symbolic and material site of contestation.

We are looking for papers exploring issues related to:

Politics of poverty, hunger and food access

Social justice and urban food environments

Political struggles over food desert projects

Strategic uses of the term food desert

Discursive critiques of the term food desert

Community reactions to or understandings of food deserts

Structural violence in the food system

Food policy practices and impacts

The medicalization of food access and poverty

Measuring and communicating food access

Please address questions and submit abstracts of up to 250 words to either: Christine [] or Justin [] by no later than January 20th.

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