Jonathan Bishop Highfield

Finding the Phantom Food: Representing Postcolonial

Jonathan Bishop Highfield is Professor of Literary Arts and Studies at Rhode Island School of Design is and the author of Food and Foodways in African Narratives: Community, Culture, and Heritage (Routledge) and Imagined Topographies: From Colonial Resource to Postcolonial Homeland (Peter Lang).

His writing on postcolonial ecocriticism and foodways has appeared in numerous book and journals. He teaches courses on postcolonial literature and food studies and enjoys cooking. Reading narratives through the lens of food and foodways reveals different ways that writers deploy agriculture, cooking, and eating to highlight the traumas of history, the emptiness of displacement, and the power of community. What I try to ask is what is food doing in the narrative?
How does paying attention to it reveal something that Elizabeth A. Eldredge calls “a hidden transcript”?[i]The descriptions of preparing a meal, working in a garden, or butchering a chicken, seem so commonplace that the meaning instilled in those passages can go by without notice. What do those domestic moments reveal about the dynamics of gender, of power, and of class in narratives?


Marié-Heleen Coetzee is associate professor in the School of the Arts: Drama at the University of Pretoria, South Africa She was previously on faculty at the University of Zululand. Her research interests include drama/theatre-based pedagogies in cross-disciplinary contexts as well as embodied pedagogies in performance praxis. She presents guest lectures, papers and workshops at national and international institutions and conferences, acts as adjudicator, examiner and reviewer for various institutions and organisations, contributes scholarly publications and presents creative work on various platforms.

Cornucopia consists of 4 short, independent scenes that offer primarily visual and embodied interpretations connected by the theme of excess. Core images in each scene serve as narrative anchors to explore the themes in relation to the body as symbolic site/sight for defining relations between people. Food and consumption becomes tools of power, persuasion and seduction.

Marié-Heleen Coetzee
  • University of Pretoria

Panel 7: Discursive space-clearing

Session Chair: Koni Benson

How we talk about Talk about food

  • Desiree Lewis

Ethical Practices that enhance Food Security among African

  • Simon Masiga

Towards understanding how big corporations in the grain industry create the basis of an obesogenic environment that predisposes poor women to Diabetes type 2

  • Austin Pinkerton

Panel 8: Food and identity-formation

Session Chair: Lynn Mafofo

Food and Gender Relations in a Muslim inner-city in Accra, Ghana since the 1980s?

  • Charles Prempeh

Rastafari Foodways and Identity-construction in Zimbabwe

  • Fortune Sibanda

Foodscapes and positioning of staple food in Africa: A case of youth
perceptions on maize consumption discourses in Cape Town

  • Nandi H. Mhlongo

Panel 9: Food in/and social history

Session Chair: Tinashe Kanosvamhira

Promoting eco-feminism in food security research during the COVID-19 pandemic: Insights from a co-research collaboration in Cape Town,
South Africa

  • Haidee Swanby
  • Nicole Paganini
  • Nomonde Buthelezi
  • Sanelisiwe Nyaba

The influence of indigenous food practices on children’s
developmental outcomes: A participatory exploration with caregivers in a rural community in KwaZulu Natal

  • Ayanda Tshazi

The slow violence of child malnutrition: Gauging progress / a process of engagement

  • Lori Lake

Panel 10: Humanising food justice politics

Session Chair: Carmine Rustin

Understanding food-related health behaviour: an ethnographic study
investigating the management of non-communicable diseases through the use of food by residents of Langa, Cape Town

  • Zonke Khanyi Mjekula

Farm bank: The Leveraging of Capital on a Limpopo Citrus Farm

  • Gabe Vermeulen
  • Safiyya Goga

The vanilla Bubble of 2003/4: How Neo-Liberal Policy Changed The Production of the World’s Favourite Flavour

  • Julian May
  • Myriam Velia

Panel 11: Local worlds/Global foodways and foodscapes

Session Chair: Evans Anyona Ondigi

Disparity to Parity to Solidarity: How Agrarian Movements Resist Corporate Capture in the “Capitalocene”

  • Daljit Soni
  • Garrett Graddy-Lovelace
  • Veronica Limeberry
  • Indra Shekhar Singh

South’s Africa’s Hospitality industry is in distress. The economic impact of Covid 19 lockdown regulations on restaurants in Durban, South Africa

  • Sheetal Bhoola

The South African milk tart: Beyond indigenization

  • Rachel Botes

Panel 12: Food/Aesthetics/Politics

Session Chair: Jonathan Jodamus

Food, symbolism, political change, and gendered identities in Zimbabwean Politics: From Mama Grace’s ice cream to Amai Mnangagwa’s traditional meals

  • Tinashe Mawere

A Culinary Biography of Dora Sithole: Identity, Heritage, Memory and Flavours

  • Vasu Reddy
  • Lebo Moletsane

Serious Fun: Food for Thought

  • Rike Sitas
  • Gareth Haysom