UIC Student Center Easts

750 South Halsted

United States

Food Justice
A Conference sponsored by the University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for the
April 4-6, 2013
This conference brings together an interdisciplinary group of scholars to explore issues of food justice in historical context as well as in terms of contemporary policy debates. Conference sessions will address themes of food and war, food aid and humanitarianism, moral and ethical issues in defining hunger and famine, the tensions between local and global food systems, and alternative urban food movements (specifically in Chicago). Each panel will focus on pre-circulated papers and will feature a commentator.

Please note:  This is intended to be a working conference.   Papers will be circulated in advance to  those who pre-register and will form the basis for discussion. Space will be limited so please  register only if you will be able to read the papers and attend the conference.

This working conference is free and open to the public.

April 4, 2013 at 5:00 p.m.
Location: 750 South Halsted, UIC Student Center East

April 5, 2013
Location: Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Halsted, UIC
9:00-10:15 a.m.
Plenary Session – Julie Guthman, UC Santa Cruz

10:30-12:15 –
Session 1 – “Measuring Hunger: Moral, Medical, and Ethical Issues in defining Famine”
This panel addresses questions of food justice in the context of defining and measuring hunger and famine. While in theory famines seem patently obvious, defined by an absolute or relative absence of food, in fact, modern famines have rarely been due to simple food shortages. Declaring a “famine zone” has profound implications: medical treatment, media attention, and humanitarian aid all depend upon whether or not a famine is “officially” confirmed. Yet the declaration of a famine zone by no means ensures that a population’s food situation will improve. Why are some food crises declared famines and others not? What are some reasons for the unreliability of current methods of determining the presence of famines? And what are the ethical and moral implications of the modern project of delineating and locating some famines while denying others?

Sharman Apt Russell, Western New Mexico University
Geoff Tansy, Writer/Consultant, United Kingdom
Harriet Friedmann, University of Toronto
Comment: Alice Weinreb, Utah State University

12:30-1:30 p.m. – Lunch Break

1:30-3:15 p.m.–
Session 2 – “Food Aid and Humanitarianism”
This panel will focus on food justice in the history and practice of international food aid. We’re hoping to spark a conversation about the growth of an international system of food (and development) aid and the use of food aid in state/national strategic planning as well as ideas about the relationships among food/hunger and humanitarianism.

Nick Cullather, Indiana University
Davide Rodogno, Graduate Institute of International Studies, University of Geneva
Jamey Essex, University of Windsor
Comment: Susan Levine, UIC

3:15-3:30 p.m. – Coffee

3:30-5:15 p.m.
Session 3 – “Food and War”
This panel focuses on the theme of food and justice in the context of total war, which destroys normal patterns of food production and distribution. The provisioning of huge armies, the maintenance of civilian diets and claims of defeated soldiers and civilians raise complex issues about justice. The panel will explore how scarce supplies were allocated and how food became a weapon in policies of extermination in the Second World War in Europe and South-East Asia.
Gesine Gerhard, University of the Pacific
Katarzyna Cwiertka, University of Leiden
Kenneth Moure, University of Alberta
Comment: Ina Zweiniger-Bargielowska, UIC

April 6, 2013
Location: Institute for the Humanities, 701 South Halsted, UIC

9:30-11:15 a.m.
Session 4 – “Local Agriculture, Global Food, and the Politics of Scale”
This panel looks at food justice in the context of local versus global food systems. In particular, the panel will look at current developments in agri-industrial organization and technology and the implications of these developments for laborers and their communities. Discussion will explore social movements that challenge corporate ownership of food and the appropriation of agricultural knowledge paying particular attention to alternatives that seek to promote more just systems of production, distribution, and consumption.
Liz Fitting, Dalhousie
Mark Moberg, University of South Alabama
Daniel Reichman, University of Rochester
Comment: Molly Doane, UIC

11:15-1:00 p.m.
Session 5 – Roundtable on Urban Agriculture and Alternative Food Systems in Chicago.
This panel explores food justice at the local level here in Chicago. As a global city, major meat processing locale, trans-shipment center and commodities market, Chicago has a rich history of food politics. The city has become a macrocosm for exploring the complexity of conventional food systems as well as a center for social movements challenging those systems. The discussion will explore how the conventional food system developed in Chicago and the emergence of alternative food movements in the city.

Daniel Block, Chicago State University
Adriana Premat, Western Ontario University
Comment: Lisa Lee, Jane Addams Hull-House Museum UIC

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