Craft Critique Culture

We are pleased to announce the schedule for this year's Craft Critique Culture Conference, to be held on April 6-7, 2018. Our theme is "Reckoning with Appetite," and we welcome papers with any interpretation of our theme. See below for details. 




The conference will feature keynote speaker Kyla Wazana Tompkins, Associate Professor of English and Gender and Women's Studies at Pomona College. Dr. Tompkins is a former food writer and restaurant critic. Today, as a scholar of 19th-century U.S. literature with a continuing interest in the relationship between food and culture, she writes about the connections between literature and a wide range of topics: food, eating, sexuality, race, culture, film and dance.

Her 2012 book, Racial Indigestion: Eating Bodies in the Nineteenth Century, received the 2012 Lora Romero First Book Publication Prize from the American Studies Association and tied for the Best Book in Food Studies Award, presented by the Association for the Study of Food and Society.


18th Annual Craft Critique Culture Conference

April 6-7, 2018

Reckoning with Appetite

University of Iowa

CRAFT CRITIQUE CULTURE is an interdisciplinary conference focusing on the intersections of critical and creative approaches to writing both within and beyond the academy. This year’s conference will explore the boundaries that can challenge and facilitate interdisciplinary scholarship through an inquiry into reckoning with appetite.  

Appetites are intrinsically future-oriented, involving the inclination, disposition, or desire to satisfy desires or bodily needs. They can be directed toward food and drink, romance, sex, and consumption writ large. Our appetites tell us not only what we want from the world but how we orient ourselves in it. Beyond the individual self, appetites can also direct themselves towards fulfilling cultural and societal expectations. Once satiated, appetites dissolve for the time being, with the potential to return with new intensity. To reckon with appetite is to attempt to come to terms with, to give an account of, or to estimate one’s inclinations and/or the object(s) of one’s desire. But while appetites look forward, the act of reckoning can transcend that temporality to consider the past, present, and future of one’s drive toward satisfaction. Appetites may at times seem inappropriate, deviant, or superfluous, but are tied to both embodiment and everyday life.  

By turns, reckoning connotes confrontation, recognition, calculation, and explanation. It constitutes a process of grappling with opposing forces, without and/or within oneself. It may be a constant repositioning, or a moment of settling a score. It may be inflected with anger, hope, discovery, satisfaction, or even revenge. Appetites can reveal inclinations we wish to remain hidden, or which we take pride in (often framed as “healthy” or “unhealthy” appetites). Though we think of them as internal in a physiological or psychological sense, appetites—and the ways in which we attempt to regulate, manage, or reckon with them—can also be influenced by culture and social mores. As much as we try to regulate our own appetites, our appetites also regulate us. What we like, need, and desire illuminates prejudice and power structure as much as taste and preference. Reckoning with appetite, then, can reveal individual and systematic methods of control, consumption, and cathexis in our bodies and our cultures.  

This conference intends to explore ways in which appetite manifests itself in literature, art, film, history, religion, and popular culture. Some questions it may consider are: What are, if any, the limits of appetite? How do age, race, sex, and/or gender change cultural perceptions of appetites? What are the ways in which appetites are controlled, subdued, or appropriated? How do they connect and/or sever disciplines, departments, institutions, cultures, communities, systems, and categories? How can scholarship reckon with appetite within these physical and conceptual spaces and communities? 

We encourage diverse explorations of this question and welcome traditional scholarly papers, poster exhibitions, pre-made panels and roundtables, as well as submissions of film, video, music, fiction, non-fiction, poetry, visual art, artists’ books, theater, and performance. 

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to: 

Politics and Popular Culture 

Food Studies 

Agricultural Studies and Food Production 

Environment and Ecocriticism 

Psychological and Sociological Studies 

Hybridity and Transnational Identities 

Desire and Consumption in/as Performance 

Queer Literature, Art, and Activism 

Humor, Horror, and the Carnivalesque 

Villainy and Monstrosity 

Taste and Aesthetics  

Sensation, Embodiment, and the Medical Humanities  

Global Expansion and Geopolitics  

Dieting, Fasting, and Cleansing    

Rape Culture 

Consumerism, Marketing, and Body Image

Romance, Sex, and Pornography 

Exile, Immigration, and Homesickness 

Gender, Women's, and Sexuality Studies 

Psychoanalysis, Drives, and Repression 


Virtual Reality and Simulation and Mediation of Desire 

Fetishism, Voyeurism, Taboo, and Censorship 


Deviance, Extralegality, and Criminality 


300-word abstracts should be submitted by Friday, January 26th, 2018

Abstracts must include: 

a) author(s) 

b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the program 

c) email address 

d) paper title 

Please email all submissions to:

Accepted papers will be notified by February 10th, 2018. We acknowledge receipt and answer all paper proposals submitted. If you do not receive a reply from us in a week, please resend your proposal. 

For further details about the conference, visit: 



Many Thanks to Our Sponsors!

Department of English
The Iowa Review
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies
Graduate College
College of Education
University of Iowa Libraries
James O. Freedman Fund
Carver Fund
Graduate & Professional Student Government
University of Iowa Student Government
School of Library and Information Science
School of Art and Art History
Department of Anthropology
Department of Communication Studies
Department of Cinematic Arts
Department of History
Department of Dance
Department of Religious Studies
Writers' Workshop

Past Sponsors

Department of English
James O. Freedman Fund
Graduate College
Graduate & Professional Student Gov.
Obermann Center for Advanced Studies
University of Iowa Student Gov.
Writers' Workshop
Cinema & Comparative Literature
School of Library & Information Science
World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Department of German
Department of History
Department of Religious Studies
The Digital Studio for Public Arts and Humanities
Department of Dance
Department of Communication Studies
School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Digital Bridges for Humanistic Inquiry: A Grinnell College/University of Iowa Partnership funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
University of Iowa Libraries
Department of American Studies
School of Art and Art History
College of Education

Organizing Committee

Meredith Stabel, co-chair
Laura Hayes, co-chair
Paul Schmitt, co-chair

2018 Conference moderators & volunteers: