Visual representations of and/or by fat people are powerful tools of both oppression and empowerment. This special issue of Fat Studies seeks to explore the wide variety of ways in which visual representations have helped to give voice to and affirmed fat-positive cultures as well as fostered institutionalized fatphobia on local, national, and international levels. Further analysis of positive, negative, and neutral visual representations from a Fat Studies perspective can help to increase our cultural awareness of just how prevalent and important the visual world is to issues of social justice in our everyday lives.
Visual representations should be taken to include any and all forms of visual media, including, but not limited to: photography, the “fine” arts, mass media imagery, film, live performance, museum installations, posters, and ephemera. Submissions do not need to be bound by historical timeline or cultural boundaries, but please be culturally- and historically-specific in your analyses. Fat Studies analyses do not need to be restricted to particular body sizes or shapes; Fat Studies approaches can examine numerous ways in which body weight, size, and shape might have particular social meaning – and in the case of this special issue of the journal, particular visual significance.
Potential topics might include, but are not limited to:
- The use of visual representations in teaching Fat Studies
- Intersections of body size, race, class, sexuality, gender, and other forms of cultural identification in television shows such as: Roseanne, The Gilmore Girls, Huge, Drop Dead Diva, Dollhouse, The Biggest Loser, Glee, Mike and Molly, etc.
- Nineteenth and twentieth century advertisements for fattening and/or dieting products
- The use of visual media to represent “the obesity epidemic”
- Moving beyond the “rubenesque” in paintings of fat subjects
To submit a proposal for inclusion in this special issue of the journal, please send a 250-500 word summary of your article as well as a current CV to Stefanie Snider, at Snider.Stefanie@gmail.com by July 1, 2012. Any questions about the special issue can be directed to this email address as well.
Final submissions should be between 3,000 and 6,000 words, including all notes and references. If you wish to include reproductions of visual images with your essay, you will need to receive permission to do so from the artists/ copyright holders of the image(s). All authors will need to sign a form that transfers copyright of their article to the publisher, Taylor & Francis/ Routledge.
Fat Studies is the first academic journal in the field of scholarship that critically examines theory, research, practices, and programs related to body weight and appearance. Content includes original research and overviews exploring the intersection of gender, race/ethnicity, sexuality, age, ability, and socioeconomic status. Articles critically examine representations of fat in health and medical sciences, the Health at Every Size model, the pharmaceutical industry, psychology, sociology, cultural studies, legal issues, literature, pedagogy, art, theater, popular culture, media studies, and activism.
Fat Studies is an interdisciplinary, international field of scholarship that critically examines societal attitudes and practices about body weight and appearance. Fat Studies advocates equality for all people regardless of body size. It explores the way fat people are oppressed, the reasons why, who benefits from that oppression and how to liberate fat people from oppression. Fat Studies seeks to challenge and remove the negative associations that society has about fat and the fat body. It regards weight, like height, as a human characteristic that varies widely across any population. Fat Studies is similar to academic disciplines that focus on race, ethnicity, gender, or age.