Fat Studies is becoming an interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary field of study that confronts and critiques cultural constraints against notions of “fatness” and “the fat body”; explores fat bodies as they live in, are shaped by, and remake the world; and creates paradigms for the development of fat acceptance or celebration within mass culture. Fat Studies uses body size as the starting part for a wide-ranging theorization and explication of how societies and cultures, past and present, have conceptualized all bodies and the political/cultural meanings ascribed to every body. Fat Studies reminds us that all bodies are inscribed with the fears and hopes of the particular culture they reside in, and these emotions often are mislabeled as objective “facts” of health and biology. More importantly, perhaps, Fat Studies insists on the recognition that fat identity can be as fundamental and world-shaping as other identity constructs analyzed within the academy and represented in media.
Proposals in the area of Fat Studies are being accepted for the 2010 PCA /ACA (Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association) National Conference in St. Louis, MO (March 31 through April 3, 2010 at the Renaissance Grand Hotel St. Louis). We welcome papers and performances from academics, researchers, intellectuals, activists, and artists, in any field of study, and at any stage in their career.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
• representations of fat people in literature, film, music, nonfiction, and the visual arts
• cross-cultural or global constructions of fatness and fat bodies
• cultural, historical, or philosophical meanings of fat and fat bodies
• portrayals of fat individuals and groups in news, media, magazines
• fatness as a social or political identity
• fat acceptance, activism, and/or pride movements and tactics
• approaches to fat and body image in philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology
• fat children in literature, media, and/or pedagogy
• fat as it intersects with race, ethnicity, class, religion, ability, gender, and/or sexuality
• history and/or critique of diet books and scams
• functions of fatphobia or fat oppression in economic and political systems
By December 1, 2009, please send an abstract of 100 - 250 words or a completed paper to Fat Studies Area Co-Chairs Julia McCrossin (email@example.com) and Lesleigh Owen (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please include your complete contact information and a CV and/or 50 word bio, along with anticipated A/V needs. All submissions are welcome, but please use the information above to ensure your paper fits within the academic and political scopes of Fat Studies. Please also be mindful that Fat Studies is a political project and not merely an umbrella term for all discussions of larger bodies. Also, we encourage submitters to rethink using words like “obesity” and “overweight” in their presentations unless they are used ironically, within quotes, or accompanied by a political analysis.
Presenters must become members of the Popular Culture Association. Find more information on the conference and organization at http://pcaaca.org/conference/national.php.
The George Washington University
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