Call for Papers: Landscapes of dietary protein: Future, food and fiction

Organizers: Dr. Judith Miggelbrink (Protein Matters, TU Drseden) Dr. Mariana Hase Ueta (Protein Matters, TU Dresden) and Dr. Frank Müller (Protein Matters, University of Amsterdam)

The Plantationocene is characterized by modes of food-production for industrial and (neo)colonial purposes. The session invites contributions that wage risky explorations about the future landscapes of dietary protein production and consumption.

Deutscher Kongress für Geographie

19 September – 23 September 2023

Humankind’s agricultural activities have profoundly altered the appearance of the planet, its ecological systems, and established forms of intra- and interspecies exploitation. The term Plantationocene has been proposed to describe the current epoch in Earth’s history, characterized by the widespread cultivation of monoculture tree and crop plantations for industrial and (neo)colonial purposes, including biofuel, energy-, and food-production. The term draws attention to the negative impacts of monoculture plantations on ecosystems and biodiversity, including soil degradation, water pollution, and the destruction of natural habitats. Conventional large-scale animal-based protein production, i.e. in the form of pork, beef, and poultry, is a central driver of these processes and thus decisive for planetary futures.

The technological, political, and cultural conditions of alternative futures of food (including protein) provision and sovereignty are matters of debates across diverse disciplines. As consumers become more aware of the environmental and health benefits of plant-based diets, the demand for plant-based protein sources is likely to increase. Growing consumer demand, in turn, will lead to the development of new protein products, a tendency that becomes evident in the ongoing expansion of novel protein industries. In addition, the future of dietary protein is likely to include other alternative protein sources such as insects, algae, and lab-grown meat. Some of them are in experimental state or already on the market, while others are subject to ongoing scientific endeavors and science fictions.

These alternatives are assumed to have the potential to be more sustainable and environmentally friendly than traditional animal-based proteins, however, including uncertainties for human societies, inter-species relations, and habitats, thus inviting widespread speculations about how material and metaphorical landscapes of future protein production and consumption will look like. While advocates promise that less-animal-based food systems can better than conventional forms satisfy the growing global demand for protein, and in less emission-intensive, and less environmentally toxic ways, the effects for socio-ecological landscapes of such transition remain largely unknown.

This paper session invites contributions that from different subdisciplines wage risky explorations about the future landscapes of dietary protein production and consumption. We seek critical approaches that allow us to discuss science fictional and/or plausible, hopeful and/or dystopian yet, in any case, informative and creative scenarios of planetary futures.

  • To what extent will future landscapes transform or disrupt the processes that have led authors to label our current epoch as Plantationocene?
  • How does the shift to alternative proteins produce new geographies of food and challenge the traditional structure of global food supply chains?
  • How do alternative protein production systems change urban and rural landscapes, and the interdependencies between cities and countryside?
  • What challenges should we be aware of?

Welcome contributions on one of the following issues (suggestions, not a complete list of topics)

  • Alternative proteins
  • Sustainable diets
  • Cultured meat
  • Plant-based meat
  • New technologies
  • Novel Foods

To submit a paper abstract please visit the conference page: