Special Issue: Food and Ecology
This special issue of Feminist Studies brings nuanced and critical perspectives to the topic of food and ecology, focusing both on global campaigns for gender justice regarding food and natural resources and on some unintended consequences of feminist ecological activism.
Laura Anh Williams’s opening essay encapsulates several contemporary themes in her queer ecofeminist engagement with the politics of meat eating. The mix of food and politics—in fact, the necessary if unseen connections between food and politics—are also foregrounded in two review essays that take intersectional approaches to their subjects, Arlene Avakian’s discussion of feminist food memoirs and Psyche Williams-Forson and Jennifer Cognard Black’s essay on food politics. Melanie Dawson makes pedagogical use of such current scholarship in her interdisciplinary college course on literature and environmental feminism. Another cluster of articles engages with the labor of food production, tying it in innovative ways to consumption practices. Carolyn Sachs and Anouk Patel-Campillo’s essay calls for a new vision of feminist food justice that incorporates food security, food sovereignty, and food justice in contrast to individualizing neoliberal approaches. Neoliberal approaches, even including supposedly progressive Fair Trade regulations, can sometimes have disruptive consequences for smallholder women tea farmers, as Debarati Sen describes. Eileen Boris and Jennifer N. Fish discuss efforts to take the labor of maids and nannies out of isolating family contexts and to use international organizations and cultural representations to press for more egalitarian global labor standards for domestic workers. Creative work featured in this issue also engages the themes of food and ecology: Barbara Sjoholm’s art essay about Emilie Demant Hatt describes Hatt’s growing affinity with indigenous Sami herders and hunters and their influence on her striking expressionist paintings. The featured poems by Lauren Camp and Kelly Conroy and the short story by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan expand our imaginative possibilities for engaging with eating and body image.