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Call for Papers : Gastropolitics: Culture, Identity and Culinary Politics in Peru

María Elena García et Raúl Matta

Cuisine, identity and politics are converging in complex and compelling ways across the globe. Nowhere is this more true than in contemporary Peru, where hundreds of culinary schools are training over 80,000 Peruvian chefs, and where one celebrity chef is considered a strong candidate for president, even though he has never expressed interest in that position. Peru is re-constituting itself as a “country of cooks” not only for commercial and aesthetic reasons but also in pursuit of a political, economic, and cultural project in which Peruvian cuisine is the engine for inclusive development, racial reconciliations, and national unification.

 The gastronomic boom in Peru is now over a decade old, coinciding with the recovery of the country from decades of political violence and authoritarianism, forces that exacted greatest damage on Indigenous communities, Afro-Peruvians, and the poor. It also overlapped with the implementation of neoliberal economic policies and the opening of the country to global capital. The visual and media politics that shaped the narrative of post-war Peruvian success has often cast chefs as national heroes and engines of development, citizenship, self-esteem and national pride. 

It is perhaps not surprising that public and private sectors have come together in a wider range of gastronomic activities, producing a complex we call gastropolitics, understood as the deployment and assemblage of power relations linking food and cuisines to markets, political institutions, cultural and social identities, and gendered and racialized bodies. Many commentators have viewed gastropolitics as a progressive inflexion point in which coastal elites revise their views of and relations with Andean and Amazonian peoples and commodities. This special issue contributes to an emergent critique of this view examining the varied consequences and problematics of the gastronomic boom. Among the possible themes are: the impact of gastropolitics on urban and rural development, the spatialization of culture and intellectual property, postcolonial readings of Peru’s gastronomic boom, and the gastro-diplomatic dimension of Peruvian cuisine.

 Authors are invited to submit abstracts in English or Spanish reporting original research on the topic before September 30th 2017.

The full articles (max. 9000 words), corresponding to selected abstracts, will be expected by the special issue editors before 15 December 2017.

Contacts: María Elena García (meg71@uw.edu ) & Raúl Matta (matta_raul@yahoo.com)