Food, Health, and Agriculture in South Asia: Contemporary Issues and Future Directions 

Date: March 29-30, 2012

Location: 220 Eggers Hall (Public Events Room), Syracuse University

Conference Organizers: 
Dr. Timothy De Ver Dye, Professor and Associate Dean, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University
Dr. Sudha Raj, Instructor, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University
Dr. Saurabh Mehta, Assistant Professor, College of Human Ecology, Cornell University   

Co-sponsors:     Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition, David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics, Syracuse University;  South Asia Program, Cornell University

Conference Description and Objectives

Historically, South Asia provides one of the world’s most vibrant, unique, and diverse indigenous cuisines well-adapted and suitable to sustain its population.  In contemporary times and in globalized context, the food system of South Asia is changing rapidly, with concomitant health effects, while the indigenous foods of South Asia spread well beyond the diaspora. 

The purpose of this conference is to create an open, creative environment for academic researchers and applied practitioners (in the social and biological sciences) working on topics related to health, food studies and agriculture in South Asia to share insights and experiences across disciplines to stimulate new collaborative ideas for research and practice. The conference incorporates traditional elements (didactic sharing) with innovative experiences involving South Asian food and creative networking strategies to stimulate new thinking.


The conference is free and open to the public. However, we kindly request that you register so that we have an idea of the number of people attending. Please fill out our electronic registration form here.


Thursday, March 29

7:00-9:00         Film Screening of "Still, The Children are Here" (Mira Nair, 2004), moderated by Tula    
                         Goenka, Associate Professor of Radio, TV and Film 
                         032 Eggers Hall

Friday, March 30

8:00-9:00         Continental Breakfast
                         220 Eggers Hall

9:00-10:30       Opening Plenary Session, 220 Eggers Hall 
                         Moderator: Sudha Raj
                         9:00-9:10      Welcome by Cecilia Van Hollen, Director of the South Asia Center
                         9:15-9:45      Keynote Speaker, Professor Krishnendu Ray (New York University), "Cuisines
                                               between Nations: An Argument on the Limits of National Cultures" 
                         9:45-9:55      Discussant, Donna Bacchi MD MPH (SUNY Upstate)
                         9:55-10:05    Discussant, Dennis Miller (Cornell University)
                        10:05-10:30   Discussion    

10:30-11:00     Break

11:00-12:00    Food and Health: Contemporary Experiences in and Influences of South Asia
                        220 Eggers Hall 
                        Moderator: Tim Dye
                        11:00-11:15    Harris Solomon (Duke), "Street Cleaning: Food Politics, Hygiene, and Public
                                                Viability in Mumbai"
                        11:15-11:30    Chandani Liyanage (University of Colombo; Fulbright Fellow, SU), "Health
                                                Implications of Agricultural Modernization and Changing Food Consumption
                                                Patterns in Sri Lanka"
                        11:30-11:45    Amy Nichols (Cornell), "Econutrition Strategy to Improve Food Security in Rural 
                                                India "
                        11:45-12:00    Discussion

12:00-1:30      Lunch (must be registered to attend lunch)
                        204 Maxwell Hall

1:30-2:30        Food Systems and Agriculture in South Asia, 220 Eggers Hall 
                        Moderator: S.P. Raj   
                        1:30-1:45    Devparna Roy (Cornell), "Reclaiming Developmentalism? State, Civil Society and
                                            Firms in GM Crop Debates in Democratic India"
                        1:45-2:00    Clarence Maloney, "Water Resources and Food Security in Afghanistan" 
                        2:15-2:30    Discussion

2:30-3:30        Health, Medicines, and Food in South Asia, 220 Eggers Hall 
                        Moderator: Sudha Raj
                        2:30-2:45    Monica Sathyamurthy (SU), "A Comparison of Traditional Beliefs, Practices, and
                                            Health Seeking Behaviors that Influence Dietary Practices During Pregnancy
                                            of South Asian Women in India and the United States"    
                        2:45-3:00    Karen McNamara (SU), "I Can't Eat: Health, Food and Work of Bangladeshi
                                            Garment Workers"
                        3:00-3:15    Jaapna Dhillon (SU), "Dietary Habits and Practices of South Asian Female Students
                                            in the United States"
                        3:15-3:30    Discussion

3:30-4:00       Break 

4:00-5:00        Closing Plenary, 220 Eggers Hall
Moderator: Saurabh Mehta
                        Keynote Speaker: Rema Nagarajan (Global Health Reporting Nieman-Pulitzer Center 
                                                     Fellow,  Harvard University), "Public and Policy Debates around Health and
                                                     Nutrition in a Transitioning Economy"


Call for Papers Deadline    January 31, 2012

Registration Deadline        March 15, 2012