Special Issue of the Popular Culture Studies Journal
April 2022, Volume 10, Issue 1
Issue Title: Food, Popular Culture, and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Editors: Dr. Jessica Prody and Dr. Tara Schuwerk
Background and concept:
Food is a central aspect of culture. Food traditions reflect cultural values, social power structures, and help build and delineate community. Food is also a space where cultural and political structures of power are reflected, reinforced, and challenged. Popular culture is a significant space where we can see this broader relationship between food and culture represented.
As Fabio Parasecoli (2008) writes in Bite Me: Food in Popular Culture, “Pop Culture constitutes a major repository of visual elements, ideas, practices, and discourses that influence our relationship with the body, with food consumption, and, of course, with the whole system ensuring that we get what we need on a daily basis, with all its social and political ramifications” (p. 3). Using his definitions, we define popular culture as “any form of cultural phenomenon, material item, practice, social relations, and even idea that is conceived, produced, distributed, or consumed within a market-driven environment” (p. 4). The “complexity” and “transitory” nature of popular culture are the very reasons that studying it allows us to better understand broader cultural change (p. 6)
In this vein, this special issue of the Popular Culture Studies Journal (PCSJ) titled “Food, Popular Culture, and the COVID-19 Pandemic” will examine popular culture to better understand how the COVID 19 pandemic has altered global food cultures. Practices of using food to build community and connection have been disrupted by social distancing, but through television, film, social media, books, and other technologies, old traditions have been maintained in new ways, new traditions have formed, food culture has adapted, and food-focused content has become an escape from current reality. In addition, the economic and political struggles connected to the pandemic have highlighted important innovations in the role food can have during social uncertainty and unrest. Our goal in this issue is to answer two questions: (1) how are people using popular culture to maintain or build community around food and food traditions, and (2) how can tracing popular culture messages and engagement help us to understand the changes in food culture during the pandemic?
We have intentionally left the topic of the issue broad in order to capture the wide range of ways that popular culture, food, and the pandemic intersect and welcome the use of quantitative and qualitative methods. Possible topics the issue might include are:
- How people have used social media or other technologies to maintain or reclaim food culture in a period of social distancing.
- How food content and practices across popular culture has provided escapism.
- How food celebrities have used their platform to challenge power structures highlighted by the pandemic.
- How technologies have altered our routines or traditions around food.
- How the circulation of traditional food knowledge during the pandemic has created opportunities to challenge notions of expertise and authority.
- How traditional media, social media, and other expressions of popular culture have maintained or built community around food.
- How messages about food in popular culture during the pandemic have reinforced, challenged, or altered social power structures.
We welcome submissions with an international focus in order to understand the food, popular culture, and pandemic relationship from a global perspective. Overall, the essays in this special issue will provide an opportunity for us to better understand the role of popular culture in representing and shaping food culture, especially during a pandemic when it is difficult for food to bring people together in the same physical or temporal spaces.
Abstracts Due: June 15, 2021
- Abstracts should be 250 to 500 words and present the intention of the research, the research’s original contribution, and how it relates livestreaming to popular culture.
- Please send abstracts to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Food and Popular Culture” in the subject line.
Acceptances: July 2021
First Drafts: October 1, 2021
Peer Review October-November 2021
Final Drafts: February 1, 2022
Published: April 2022
Authors interested in contributing to the special issue should submit n approximately 500-word abstract explaining the proposed article or text. This abstract should include the article’s title and the author’s full name and contact information. In addition, all potential authors should include with their abstract a 100-word author bio to be included upon acceptance and publication.
Essays should range between 15-25 pages of double-spaced text in 12-pt. Times New Roman font, including all images, endnotes, and Works Cited pages. Please note that the 15-page minimum should be 15 pages of written article material. Less than 15 pages of written material will be rejected, and the author asked to develop the article further.
In accordance with the PCSJ style guide, essays should also be written in clear US English in the active voice and third person, in a style accessible to the broadest possible audience. Authors should be sensitive to the social implications of language and choose wording free of discriminatory overtones.
For documentation, the PCSJ follows the Modern Language Association style, which calls for a Works Cited list, with parenthetical author/page references in the text. This approach reduces the number of notes, which provide further references or explanation.
For punctuation, capitalization, hyphenation, and other matters of style, follow the MLA Handbook and the MLA Style Manual. The most current edition of the guide will be the requested edition for use. The Purdue Online Writing Lab provides updated information on this formatting style.
It is essential for authors to check, correct, and bring manuscripts up-to-date before final submission. Authors should verify facts, names of people, places, dates, and source information, and double-check all direct quotations and entries in the Works Cited list. As noted above, manuscripts not in MLA style will be returned without review.
Before final submission, the author will be responsible for obtaining letters of permission for illustrations and for quotations that go beyond “fair use,” as defined by current copyright law.