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Maria Vasile and Ola Gracjasz present some of the outcomes of their Ph.D. researches

Maria Vasile and Ola Gracjasz met in Donostia-San Sebastian, in the Basque Country, on the 7th of June 2022 to take part in the 1st Feminist Anthropology Conference in the Spanish state (I Antropologia Feminista Kongresua). The conference, entitled “Transforming knowledge, inhabiting discomfort”, was meant to happen in 2020 but due to COVID-19 pandemic and the appreciation of real-life meetings, it was postponed till 2022.

The conference was organized by AFIT (Feminist Anthropology) Research Group at the University of Basque Country (UPV/EHU) and Ankulegi, the Basque Anthropology Association, in partnership with anthropologists from other Spanish regions and international universities.

The conference included plenary sessions and 16 panels. During the plenary sessions, the discussions revolved around the themes of knowledge and precarity at universities, genealogies of feminist anthropology (from now on FA), FA theories, debates and influences on social transformations. The panels dealt with various topics including FA and health, FA and migrations, FA and environmental anthropology, FA methodologies, FA approach to heritage and rituals. The conference was in the Castilian, Spanish and Basque languages.

The discussants of the plenary session “University, knowledge and precarity: a difficult survival”. From left to right: Prof. Elena Casado (University of Madrid UCM), Prof. Marta Pérez (University of Madrid UCM), Leire Castrillo, Miriam del Pino and Maider Galardi (AFIT UPV/EHU Ph.D. candidates) and Dr. Matxalen Legarreta (AFIT UPV/EHU).

As part of the panel on “Care, anthropology and feminism: links between research and political practice”, Maria and Ola presented their different findings on women in Alternative Food Networks. The presentation titled “Between public engagement and care work” was based on their fieldwork in Turin and Gdańsk and aimed at deepening the debate on whether Alternative Food Networks (or collective food procurement, more generally) can represent emancipatory spaces for women (see for example Counihan 2014). Maria and Ola took on different positions in this debate and talked about women engaged in volunteering and unremunerated care work in the context of food aid in Turin vs. women self-employment and empowerment practices in food cooperatives and via food education programs in Gdańsk. The panel also included presentations about women and care work in the sphere of public health, the lack of public and institutional recognition of care work and the influence of morality on, mainly feminine, care-related activities.

Ola and Maria in front of the Conference banner.

Reference

Counihan, Carole. 2014. “Women, Gender, and Agency in Italian Food Activism”. In Food Activism: Agency, Democracy, Economy, eds. Carole Counihan and Valeria Siniscalchi. Oxford: Bloomsbury, 61-76.

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