Edible Entanglements (Paperback)
Obesity in the Global North and starvation in the Global South can be attributed to the same cause: the concentration of enormous power in the hands of transnational agricultural corporations. The food sovereignty movement has arisen as the major challenger to the corporate food regime. The concept of sovereignty is central to the discursive field of political theology, yet seldom if ever have its theoretical insights been applied to the concept of sovereignty as it appears in global food politics. Food politics operates simultaneously in several registers: individual, national, transnational, and ecological. A politics of food takes a transdisciplinary approach to analyzing Schmitt's concept of sovereignty in each of these registers, employing Giorgio Agamben's political philosophy to elucidate vulnerability in the national and transnational registers; Jane Bennett's vibrant materiality, Karen Barad's agential realism, and nutritional science to describe the social production of classed bodies in the individual and national registers; data from climate science and the political ecology of Bruno Latour to examine the impact of sovereignty in the ecological register. Catherine Keller's theology of becoming and Paulina Ochoa Espejo's people as process will be explored for their capacity to enliven a democratic political theology of food. ""This singular book explores the concepts of sovereignty, how religion has shaped and molded such concepts, as well as the direct and unyielding consequences these power structures have had, and are still having, on environmental health, food security, and global environmental politics . . . Edible Entanglements rips off the blinders and explores not just how religious concepts have played into power structures and thus impacted our planet, but considers how religious thought may help us get out of the mess we are in."" --Elizabeth J. Ruther, Coastal State-Federal Relations Coordinator, Oregon Coastal Management Program ""How odd, given the consuming global challenge of food, that so little of the discourse of eco-social justice, let alone of political theology, has focused on the matter. With this multi-faceted yet attractively accessible work, S. Yael Dennis has rectified the situation. Reconsidering the notion of 'food sovereignty, ' it provides an interdisciplinary introduction to political theology that takes the latter where it has never gone. Edible Entanglements makes a brilliant contribution to political, economic, and ecological studies in religion."" --Catherine Keller, Author of Political Theology of the Earth: Our Planetary Emergency and the Struggle for a New Public (2018) ""In this book, Shelley Dennis develops a political theology of food that engages the important idea of sovereignty. On the one hand, sovereignty is the nation-state's unified power to decide, based on the work of Carl Schmitt. On the other hand, food sovereignty offers an important site of resistance to the onslaught of corporate capitalism and its food security regime. Dennis combines excellent theoretical analysis with valuable ecological applications. Anyone concerned about access to food in the context of climate change should read it "" --Clayton Crockett, University of Central Arkansas ""The political, religious, and philosophical thinking surrounding issues of food production and distribution are of the highest importance in the face of continued neo-liberal globalization and the return of nationalisms. Anyone concerned about food justice should read this book. S. Yael Dennis interrogates the theological and philosophical understandings of 'sovereignty' and 'anthropology, ' and human-earth relations, bringing nutritional science into the discussion as well, in order to interrogate the violence of the contemporary corporate food regimes and lift up the more egalitarian food regime of the food sovereignty movements, which recognize that we are all dependent upon (and thus vulnerable to) t.
About the Author
Shelley Yael Dennis, MD, PhD, is Faculty Chair of Health Sciences and Sustainability at Rio Salado College in Tempe, Arizona. Dr. Dennis earned her medical degree at University of Illinois at Chicago, where she witnessed the public-health impacts of food-system disparities. Intrigued by the theological implications of systemic inequalities, she went on to earn her doctorate from Drew University. Her transdisciplinary approach integrates political, philosophical, and theological thought in support of more just and sustainable social practices.