Call for Papers: Forum Kritika on Food Transformations: Eating and Wasting in the Anthropocene (extended to Dec. 31, 2017)

October 26, 2017

Food in the 21st century would be unrecognizable to our great grandparents. Canadian ecocritic Susie O’Brien has recently explained in an interview in ARIEL that “food is a rich site through which to think about a number of things: environment, colonialism, culture, affect, subjectivity, among others.” There is an urgency to theorizing about food, especially given the fact that hunger is seriously at odds with the promises of industrial agriculture. Indeed, according to Vandana Shiva, “industrial agriculture has not produced more food. It has destroyed diverse sources of food, and it has stolen food from other species to bring larger quantities of specific commodities to the market, using huge quantities of fossil fuels and water and toxic chemicals in the process.”  

One of the four main impacts of contemporary industrial livestock that Tony Weis explores in The Ecological Hoofprint (2013) is environmental. Within this category of environmental impacts are subcategories including climate change, water use and pollution, biodiversity loss, energy wastage, the increase of antibiotic resistance among bacteria (and the subsequent creation of “superbugs”), and genetic pollution. There is no question, as Greta Gaard has recently observed, that “the ecological and human toll of industrialized human agriculture is no longer debated.” Yet, debates do rage about what exactly constitutes the Anthropocene, when it began, how it is sustained, what its philosophical and ethical contours and implications are, what conceptual tools it enables or disables, what it means to “think scale in cultural theory” (to borrow a phrase from Derek Woods), and so on. 

What the Forum Kritika on Food Transformations seeks are theoretical understandings of literary food within the context of 21st century topics surrounding food. In particular, this Forum Kritika is interested in addressing several questions: 

— How can we discuss from literary works the ways in which the practices of corporate capitalism and the pursuit of profit in the American food industry are neither viable nor productive of sustainable food sources, and how do we gauge and discuss the impacts of these practices on the Global South?

— What are the relationship between ecophobia, food, and rampant nationalism, and how are the cultural and national identities that cohere in food systems under threat when those food systems are dismantled?

— How can we theorize about the waste associated with food production, and how do these theoretical understandings cohere within the context of current debates about the definitional reach of the term Anthropocene? 

— How can we theorize about relationships between food justice and environmental justice? What are the impacts of transnational food systems on the Global South?

— How important are matters about artificial food-like substances, GMOs, and synthetic hormones?  And why?

— What can we gain from literary investigations of food in novels including but not limited to Ruth Ozeki’s My Year of Meats or All Over Creation; Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl; Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and CrakeThe Edible WomanLady Oracle, or The Handmaid’s Tale; Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation; and so on?

Submission guidelines

Please send essays in the form of a Word document attachment to Dr. Simon C. Estok (; cc:; subject: Food Transformations) by Dec. 31, 2017. Submissions should contain 7,000 to 8,000 words; include an abstract (200 to 250 words) and keywords (5 to7; should not be repeated in abstract and title). Kritika Kultura’s anonymous peer-review process requires that the electronic version of the essay contain no information that would identify the author. An author bio (100 to 150 words) should be included as a separate electronic file with the submission. 

Papers will undergo a double blind peer review by specialists in the field; evaluation period of papers will be from Jan. to May 2018. Revisions of accepted essays will be due by May 15, 2018, with a final copy due date of June 15, 2018. The Forum Kritika on Food Transformations will be published in Aug. 2018.

About Kritika Kultura

Kritika Kultura is acknowledged by a host of Asian and Asian American Studies libraries and scholarly networks, and indexed in the MLA International Bibliography, Thomson Reuters (ISI), Scopus, EBSCO, and the Directory of Open Access Journals. For inquiries about submission guidelines and future events, visit or email

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