Thursday, 20 May 2021

On the International Handbook of Fat Studies

The cover of the Handbook

The International Handbook of Fat Studies was published by Routledge on 19 April 2021. To celebrate this momentous occasion, many of the contributors joined myself and Sonya Renee Taylor to launch the book with a global Zoom.

An Instagram post from a contributing author celebrating their copy

Contributing authors from Canada, the United States, France, the UK, South Africa, Hong Kong, Finland, and Australia all helped us launch the book, along with about 35 people interested in Fat Studies scholarship and activism. It was a fatlicious mix of academics and activists.

Many of the contributing authors in a Zoom screen capture at the launch

The Handbook brings together a diverse body of work from around the globe and across a wide range of Fat Studies topics and perspectives. The first major collection of its kind, it explores the epistemology, ontology, and methodology of fatness, with attention to issues such as gender and sexuality, disability and embodiment, health, race, media, discrimination, and pedagogy. Presenting work from both scholarly writers and activists, this volume reflects a range of critical perspectives vital to the expansion of Fat Studies and thus constitutes an essential resource for scholars in the field. We are proud that contributors to the Handbook hail from fifteen countries; we are also proud that half of the Handbook was written by activists.

Many of the contributing authors in a Zoom screen capture at the launch

Many of the contributors responded to the CFP, while others were belly bumped by me to join. The resulting work challenges traditional ideas about fatness, reviews existing discourse about fatness, and produces new debates about fatness. There are gaps, though. Some of these gaps exist due to contributions that failed to materialise; some exist because of the paucity of scholarship on a singular topic.  

As Sonya Renee Taylor and I note in the conclusion of the introductory chapter,

This International Handbook of Fat Studies meets the world at a time of great upheaval. A moment in history where those navigating lives at the intersections of various oppressions are demanding change and one where those who have been historically nescient to these experiences are being ushered into greater awareness. Fat Studies and fat activism sit at the precipice of an emerging world, one where fat bodies and their liberations cannot be disaggregated from the liberation of all oppressions. We believe the work in this book invites you, the reader, into a more nuanced and yet expansive landscape of fat scholarship. We believe there is also a necessary summons into the queries, harms, and hopes of fat lives beyond the too often foregrounded western narratives. Most importantly, within these pages is an offering for Fat Studies and all who are impacted by the field to live juicier, more abundant, more robust existences. We hope we fatten up your world.  

We have such high hopes for this Handbook, but we recognize that as an academic text, the cost makes it inaccessible to many people. We are asking that people request that their local library (University, community, etc) order a copy of the Handbook. If you like to purchase a personal copy, you can find the eBook at a discount price from the publisher.

A FB post by a contributing author celebrating the Handbook


Chapter One: Fattening scholarship byCat Pausé and Sonya Renee Taylor

Section One – Defining fat

Chapter Two: “Am I fat?” by Darci L. Thoune

Chapter Three: Quantifying or contributing to antifat attitudes? by Patricia Cain, Ngaire Donaghue, and Graeme Ditchburn

Chapter Four: Language, fat and causation by Kimberly Dark

Chapter Five: My life is intersectional, so my coaching has to be by Tiana A. Dodson

Section Two – Theorising fat

Chapter Six: Feminism and fat by Amy E. Farrell

Chapter Seven: Big, fat, Greek modernities by Sofia Apostolidou

Chapter Eight: Does that mean my body must always be a source of pain? by Laura Contrera

Chapter Nine: Fatness and consequences of neoliberalism by Hannele Harjunen

Chapter Ten: Fat and transgender by Francis Ray White

Chapter Eleven: Fatness and disability by April Herndon

Section Three – Fat in the institution

Chapter Twelve: Fat in the media by Katariina Kyrölä

Chapter Thirteen: Being fat in a thin world by Amena Azeez

Chapter Fourteen: Fattening education by Erin Cameron and Constance Russell

Chapter Fifteen: Fatness, discrimination & law by Stephanie von Liebenstein

Chapter Sixteen: Pregnancy, parenting and the challenge of fatness by May Friedman

Chapter Seventeen: Fat Studies and Public Health by Natalie Ingraham

Section Four – Living fat

Chapter Eighteen: Reclaiming voices from stigma by Jenny Lee and Emily McAvan

Chapter Nineteen: Save the whales by Kath Read

Chapter Twenty: Fat hatred and body respect by Tara Margrét Vilhjálmsdóttir

Chapter Twenty-One: Desirability as access by Nomonde Mxhalisa

Chapter Twenty-Two: The impact of being a fat Chinese woman in Hong Kong Bertha Chan

Chapter Twenty-Three: Surviving & thriving while fat by Sonalee Rashatwar

Chapter Twenty-Four: Review of scholarship on fat gay men by Jason Whitesel

Section five – Fat disruptions

Chapter Twenty-Five: Genealogies of excess by Athia N. Choudhury

Chapter Twenty-Six: When you are already dead by Hunter Ashleigh Shackelford

Chapter Twenty-Seven: TransFat by Sam Orchard

Chapter Twenty-Eight: Lesbians and fat by Esther D. Rothblum

Chapter Twenty-Nine: What’s queer about Fat Studies now? by Allison Taylor

via Friend of Marilyn