CFP: Fat Activism (deadline: Sept. 1, 2019)

Call for proposals for a special issue of Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society on Fat Activism

Guest Editors:
Stefanie Snider, Kendall College of Art and Design,
Jason Whitesel, Illinois State University,

To be considered for inclusion in this special issue, please send a 250-400 word proposal and current CV or resume to both co-editors, Jason Whitesel ( and Stefanie Snider ( by September 1, 2019.  Any questions should be emailed to the co-editors.

As Charlotte Cooper (2016) has written in her book Fat Activism: A Radical Social Movement, fat activism in its many forms showcases the “vitality of embodied community knowledge” and “is grounded in a long-term struggle for social change” (Hammer On Press, p.7). This special issue of Fat Studies on Fat Activism seeks to offer a fresh, interdisciplinary look at fat activism-in-flux, building on the rich past of the last several decades and signaling the approach of a new wave of the movement(s).

Submissions might engage with cutting-edge fat political projects, coming up with new ways to imagine the future of fat people; and/or they might look at the forerunners, events, and activities engaging with fat activist tenets. We also seek critiques of fat activism that offer new directions and new inroads for involvement, identifying areas hitherto unpenetrated by fat activism, with new opportunities for social transformation. Where does the current state of fat activism fall short? What could a fat-activist-inspired future look like?

To this end, we are seeking pieces on fat activism as encountered and created both inside and outside the academy; we recognize the tenuous and often ambiguous boundaries between activism and academia as well as between grassroots, radical movements, and legal/policy-based social change. As two white and queer – one fat and one thin – activist-scholars situated within the university, we also acknowledge the significance of simultaneously working through discipline-specific methods, using interdisciplinary approaches of analysis, and challenging canons and conventions of historical and contemporary narratives to decenter western- and white-centric claims to fat activism and fat studies.

Proposed topics might include, but are not limited to: 

●       Critiques of the white-centered documentation of fat activism, including counternarratives of fat activists of color; voids of representation in fat activism; intersectional approaches to fat activism 
●       Considerations of inequalities within fat activism related to race, class, gender, sexuality, age, citizenship, language, ability, and/or other categories
●       Geographical differences in fat activist participation; global fat activist alliance networks and/or transnational fat activism; cultural imperialism within fat activism; decentering the U.S. at the heart of fat politics
●       Projects “cripping” fat activism, and/or engagement with disability studies, mad studies, neurodiversity, health/medical industries, and additional forms of non-normative cognitive and physical embodiments
●       Papers aimed at “queering” the fat activist body; “queering” fat activism; fat sexuality and sexual cultures; trans and fat activism; identity politics in fat activism; fat activism and camp aesthetics; fat activism and playful politics; and/or resignificatory politics
●       Accounts of pivotal figures and collectivities in fat activism, including queer/lesbian women’s central roles in histories of fat activism
●       Guides to the formation, maintenance and/or researching process of fat activism archives
●       Analyses of fat activist texts or new genealogies of fat activism
●       Comparative studies exploring differences and overlaps between fat studies and fat activism 
●       Curriculum for fat activism as social justice pedagogy within and outside the classroom at all levels of education, including student-led fat activist groups and activities
●       Chronicles of fat activist tactics, strategies, approaches, histories, controversies, and/or tensions within the movement(s) 
●       Studies of fat activism in sport, leisure, and/or recreation 
●       Cultural products related to fat activism through zine making, internet blogging/social media, art, music, performance and theatrical arts, literature, and any other array of creative mediums used in fat activism
●       Concerns about the commodification of fat activism on the internet, in advertising, and elsewhere 
●       Explorations of the relations of power, risk, vulnerability, and desire that undergird the lived experiences of fat activists, including fat activism’s influence on self- and community development; consciousness-raising through fat-friendship networks; affect, ambivalence, and ambiguities in fat activism’s ability to accommodate contradictions felt about one’s fat body
●       Think pieces asking whether anyone can be a fat activist ally and/or who can be considered a fat activist
●       Relationships between fat activism and #BlackLivesMatter, #MeToo, the Trump Era, and/or other widespread social activism(s) 
●       Antisocial fat activism (i.e., embracing political negativity); refusing to be a “good fatty”; unabashedly embracing the grotesque/abject in fat activism; embracing anarchy in fat activism

Contributors will be notified of the status of their proposal by October 1, 2019. Full manuscripts, including all notes and references, should be between 2,000 and 6,000 words and will be due by January 1, 2020. If you wish to include reproductions of visual images with your article, please provide documentation of 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 corporeal 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.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.