Aim: The conference will assess agro-food globalization and its transformations through the lens of soy from a social science and humanities perspective. Contributions will aim to overcome the 'methodological nationalism' of country-focused agro-food studies as well as the globalist tendency of concepts such as food regimes. As a solution to these problems, we propose to study (sub-)national pathways of agro-food change, including the role of nation-states and regional movements as powerful actors. The (sub-)national focus should be linked to a global perspective through transnational connections and/or international comparisons. The conference will address these theoretical challenges empirically through the lens of soy, which has become the world’s largest agricultural commodity in the long twentieth century.
The papers should deal with these challenges within a two-dimensional heuristic field. The first dimension covers the links between global and (sub-)national developments: the role of national policies in inter- and supranational institutional frameworks, the emergence of regional counter-movements to capitalist globalization, the impact of soy expansions at sites of production and consumption, and so on. The second dimension covers the links between production and consumption within commodity networks, including their social and natural relations: flexible uses of soy-based commodities (beans, oil and cake) and related notions (‘bad’ vs. ‘good’), the role of transnational corporations in agro-industrial processing and trade, producer-consumer relations and access to segmented commodity markets (‘food from nowhere’ vs. ‘food from somewhere’), and so on.
Organization: The conference language will be English. Invited participants will receive a full refund for their travel expenses as well as accommodation. A selection of conference papers will be published in 2025 as a special issue of the peer-reviewed open-access journal Rural History Yearbook.
Schedule: Paper proposals in English including title, abstract (250-500 words) and a short CV should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 31 December 2023. Participants will be notified of acceptance of their papers by 31 January 2024. First drafts of the papers will be circulated before the conference and are due by 15 September 2024. Final versions are expected by 15 December 2024.