CFP: Fat Studies Panel at SWPACA (Deadline: 11.1.13)

Fat Studies is coming to the 35th Annual Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference.  Join us, please. 

Proposals in the area of Fat Studies are being accepted for the 2014 Southwest PCA/ACA Conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico (February 19-22, 2014, Hyatt Regency Hotel and Conference Center). We welcome papers, presentations, panels and roundtables from academics, researchers, public intellectuals, size acceptance or fat activists, visual, literary, and performance artists, and other interested persons in any field of study or mode of creativity, at any stage in their career, with or without institutional affiliation.

 As always, the SWPACA Area Chairs will practice rolling review of proposals, which means an individual submitting a proposal should receive a response within two weeks of submission. 

 If you are not familiar with what Fat Studies is I will repost the CFP definition used by the area chairs of the National PCA/ACA Fat Studies area, going successfully now into its fifth or sixth year:

 “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.”

 In other words, Fat is an identity category just like Race, Gender, Class, Age, Dis/ability, Ethnicity, Sexuality, and other identity categories – whose characteristics have sometimes been used to justify discrimination and oppressions.  It is a category of identity that is often paired with one or more of the other identity categories to multiply justifications for abuse.

Topics may include but are certainly not limited to:

· representations and images of fat people in literature, periodicals, fashion, journalism, social media, film, theater, music, nonfiction, and/or the visual arts including advertising.
· cross-cultural or global meanings of fatness and fat bodies 
·  cultural, historical, inter/intrapersonal, or philosophical meanings of fat and fat bodies
· the geography and lived experience of fatness and fat bodies
·  fatness as a social or political identity

. anti-fat talk and wife abuse/domestic violence

. fat hatred and racism

. explorations of fat hatred, fat bullying, fat abuse in television  series

.  anti-obesity speech as hate speech.

.  the genocidal search for a “fat” gene.
·   fat acceptance, activism, and/or pride movements and tactics
·  the fatosphere, fatshonista, listservs, and other manifestations of fat activism on the net.
·  the experiences and portrayals of fat children in literature, media, and educational settings
·  fat oppression and fatphobia as they intersect with race, ethnicity, class, religion, ability, gender, and/or sexuality in economic and political systems.

 .  the history of fat activism

 .  discussions of, reports on various fat activist gatherings –NOLOSE, NAAFA conferences, Fat Flea Market, swim-ins, etc.
·  history and/or critique of diet books and other scams; healthism and confirmation bias.

By November 1, 2013: Proposal submission deadline.

Please submit a paper title, abstract of 150 – 350 words, and a CV or 50-word bio to the conference’s submission database at

Email Fat Studies Area Chair Susan Huddis Koppelman at with any questions. 

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 applicants to rethink using words like “obesity” and “overweight” in their proposals/presentations unless they are used ironically, within quotes, or accompanied by a political analysis.


For more information on the conference (including registration, travel, and monetary awards for the best graduate student papers), please see


Susan Huddis Koppelman