CFP: Transplanted Curries – South Asian Food Cultures in Canada

Food travels across time and space, carrying with it complex cultural meanings and personal histories that change, and are changed by, new settings and circumstances. This transformative culinary journey is especially apparent in South Asian Canadian food-related expressions. From restaurants to theatre, from literature to film, South Asian food cultures have had a significant impact on Canada’s foodways and culinary imaginations.  Transplanted Curries is an interdisciplinary collection that explores how South Asian Canadian writers, artists, chefs, and performers are inspired and challenged by the topic of food as a central part of their diasporic communities, personal journeys, and transplanted identities. This edited collection aims to bring together leading South Asian Canadian researchers from the disciplines of South Asian studies, food studies, literature; as well as prominent writers, filmmakers, visual artists, and chefs who have created innovative expressions through food in the Canadian context and beyond.

Taking its inspiration from Anita Mannur’s 2009 landmark book Culinary Fictions: Food in South Asian Diasporic Culture, which “examines the cultural production from the Anglo-American reaches of the South Asian diaspora,” Transplanted Curries examinesSouth Asian food-related cultural expressions within the Canadian context. The South Asian diaspora is one of the largest groups of migrants globally. It includes approximately 20 million people from multiple nations, religions, ethnicities, cultures, and linguistic groups, spread throughout the world. ‘South Asian’ here references those people whose origins are from India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, and the Maldives. As per the 2016 Canadian census, 1.9 million, approximately 5.6% of Canadians, identify themselves as of South Asian origin, making them the largest visible minority group in Canada. Some migrated directly from South Asia, while others arrived through the process of ‘double diaspora’ via East Africa, the Caribbean, or other global locations. Food is central to South Asians’ cultural life. It not only sustains ties to the home left behind but also helps to create a new home space in adopted lands, triggering memories of places, people, and cultures.

Connection to food is reflected in South Asian Canadian diasporic literature and art through the ways that authors and artists use gastronomy to signify intersectional issues of race, class, and gender, and represent matters of identity and belonging central to under­standing migration. For people in diaspora, food can also be a reminder of their “otherness,” especially if it is not considered part of the “mainstream” culinary trends. In fact, in multicultural countries such as Canada, diasporic culinary arts are often invoked as symbolic of cultural diversity thus leading to “celebratory multiculturalism,” which further exoticizes certain outward components of culture such as food, clothing, dance, and music, while ignoring embedded social inequities (see A. Fleras, The Politics of Multiculturalism, 2009). Nonetheless, many diasporic authors and artists invoke cuisine and eating places in more nuanced ways, using them to demonstrate cultural differences and fractures, and also as productive spaces for pushing socio-ethnic boundaries.

We are seeking articles, photo essays, creative pieces, and visual art on any aspect of South Asian food cultures in Canada.

Topics include, but are not limited to:

Race and food; Migration and food; Sickness and food; Nostalgia and food; Class and food; Gender and food; Religion and food; Childhood and food; Grief/pain and food; Justice and food; Hunger/poverty and food; Food as story/ies; Food and culture; Food and memory; Food and ancestry; Food and sustainability; Politics of food; Food and/as communication.

Please submit abstracts of 300-500 words, and biographical statements of 100 words by December 1, 2021 to editors, Dr. Asma Sayed and Dr. Shelley Boyd ( and

The editors will review abstracts and invite full essays (5,000-7,000 words) for submission by June 15, 2022.

We are currently in discussions with a Canadian university press for consideration of this edited collection.


Dr. Asma Sayed is the Canada Research Chair in South Asian Literary and Cultural Studies in the Department of English at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Dr. Shelley Boyd is an Associate Dean and a Canadian literature and food studies scholar in the Faculty of Arts at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.

Categories: Non ACCUTE CFPs

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