1. On The Visceral: Race, Sex, Eating and Other Gut Feelings


    On the Visceral: Race, Sex, Eating and Other Gut Feelings

    A Special Issue of GLQ

    Editors: Kyla Tompkins (Pomona College), Marcia Ochoa (University of California, Santa Cruz) and Sharon P. Holland (Duke University)

    Deadline for abstracts of 500-750 words: February 15, 2013

    Please send inquiries and submissions to: onthevisceral@pomona.edu

    In classic French cuisine a bête noire is a rich, flourless chocolate cake; in work on the greater black Atlantic world, it means “black beast”; as a colloquial term in English and French, it means an insufferable person or thing, an object of aversion. How does a term so loaded become part of a food lexicon without an appropriate accounting? Our interest in this question goes beyond the history of chocolate, sugar and slavery, although these continue to be points of interest. We envision this CFP as the beginning of an intellectual project that intersects with questions of the animal and the racial, the human and the historical.

    This special collection will bring together scholars working at intersections of Food Studies, Hemispheric American Studies, Sexuality and Queer Studies, and Critical Race Theory. A central optic for this investigation will be the idea of the visceral – the gut – as a trope for the carnal and bloody logic that organizes life.

    As scholars engaged in thinking about consumption in and through these frameworks, we see many points of convergence between eating and sexuality as well as food, food labor and the production of racialized economies. These systems have tremendous impact on the construction of the human and the non-human in the context of a trans-colonial, transnational and hemispheric modernity.

    Many of the sites in the digestive process - the mouth to the anus – are linked by the erotic and material economies that emerged from colonialism and slavery. Following this geography of the gut, we are interested in the moments, texts and processes in and through which food, flesh and the alimentary tract are linked to the reproduction of systems of inequality. These systems include, but are not limited to fictions of race, gender, sexuality and class; fantasies of unmediated and dehistoricized corporeality, nationalism and community, and the anthropocentric violence of the food-industrial complex, all of which we understand as coevally produced and mutually reinforcing.

    Our interest in these questions goes beyond the history of chocolate, sugar and slavery, although these continue to be points of interest. We envision this CFP as the continuation of an intellectual project that intersects with questions of the animal and the racial, the human and the historical.

    We, the editors, have come together from diverse areas of inquiry to ask questions through the visceral; though we begin our questions from the areas of food, sexuality, critical race studies, and animality we wish to articulate in this volume how to approach the erotics of colonialism in a visceral way. To this end, we offer a preliminary sketch of what we mean by this term.

    We see viscerality as a phenomenological index for the logics of desire, consumption, disgust, health, disease, belonging and displacement that are implicit in colonial and postcolonial relations. Visceral logics limn language; they inhabit an emergent temporality. Thus, part of the archaeological or genealogical work of this issue might be to unearth structures of feeling, sensoria, everyday movements, and ways of bodily being obscured either by colonialist historiography or by the entrenched politics of the present. We are speaking, in some senses, of affect: more than that, we are speaking about relational maps that obscure the distinction between self and other, subject and object, persons, things and animals.

    One example of this might be the productive political and erotic deployment of alliances and affiliations with animals/animality. However we are also interested in asking how eating and sexuality expand each other as cathectic behaviors and in exploring the intersection of eating and sexuality as points of biopolitical, territorial, economic and cultural intervention.

    By exploring the visceral nature of consumption and by interrogating the current state of food studies, this special issue is poised to contribute to several ongoing conversations that have begun to address race and postcoloniality in this area, while maintaining sexuality and the erotic as important loci. Scholars in this issue will be keen to understand not only patterns of bodily production and consumption, but also to propose new theoretical scaffoldings for our understanding of the intersection of race, food, human and animal.

    The issue will feature a forum in the form of food blog entries.

    Deadline for abstracts is February 15, 2013. Inquiries and submissions to: onthevisceral@pomona.edu

    Some possible intersections include, but are in no way limited to:
    Intersectional analyses of eating, flesh and the performative
    Palate, flavor and taste
    The “animal” and the “human”
    Diasporic dietetics beyond nostalgia
    The political life of the mouth
    Excretion and necropolitics/Consumption and biopolitics
    Eating, sex and desire
    Food and human geography
    Colonial desire and intimacy
    Orality/Anality/Queer Theories (of anything: history, sexuality, sex, the senses)
    Cannibalism and Sodomy
    Food and poetics
    Broken commodity chains
    Organ histories, Organ donation, Organ farming
    Guts, innards, offal, gut feelings