Call For Papers – Fat Studies: A Critical Dialogue


Special Journal Issue of Feminism & Psychology
Guest Editor: Dr Samantha Murray

While cultural anxieties about fatness and stigmatisation of fat bodies in Western cultures have been central to dominant discourses about bodily ‘propriety’ since the early twentieth century, the rise of the ‘disease’ category of ‘obesity’ and the moral panic over an alleged global ‘obesity epidemic’ has lent a medical authority and legitimacy to what can be described as ‘fat-phobia’. Against the backdrop of the ever-growing medicalisation and pathologisation of fatness, the field of Fat Studies has emerged in recent years to offer an interdisciplinary critical interrogation of the dominant medical models of health, to give voice to the lived experience of fat bodies, and to offer critical insights into, and investigations of, the ethico-political implications of the cultural meanings that have come to be attached to fat bodies.

This Special Issue will examine a range of questions concerning the construction of fat bodies in the dominant imaginary, including the problematic intersection of medical discourse and morality around ‘obesity’, disciplinary technologies of ‘health’ to normalise fat bodies (such as diet regimes, exercise programs and bariatric surgeries), gendered aspects of ‘fat’, dominant discourses of ‘fatness’ in a range of cultural contexts, and critical strategies for political resistance to pervasive ‘fat-phobic’ attitudes.

This Special Issue of Feminism & Psychology will showcase critical fat scholarship from around the globe by gathering together research from across a spectrum of disciplinary backgrounds (such as Cultural Studies, Fat Studies, Critical Psychology, Philosophy, Sociology, Human/Cultural Geography, Public Health, etc) as well as activists and health care professionals. The Special Issue seeks to begin a critical conversation about the productive and enabling critical possibilities Fat Studies offers for rethinking dominant notions about health and pathology, gender and bodily aesthetics, political interventions, and beyond.

  • Papers are sought that engage with topics such as (but not limited to):
  • Interventions to normalise fat bodies (such as diet regimes, exercise
    programs, weight loss pharmaceuticals and bariatric surgeries);
  • The ethico-political implications of the medicalisation of ‘obesity’;
  • Constructions of the ‘fat child’ in childhood obesity media reportage;
  • Representations of fat bodies in film, television, literature or art;
  • Intersections of medical discourse and morality around ‘obesity’;
  • The somatechnics of fatness;
  • Critical psychological responses to eating practices and body politics;
  • Histories of fat activism and/or strategies for political intervention;
  • Fat and queer histories/identities;
  • Fat embodiment online, the Fat-O-Sphere;
  • Feminist responses to fatness;
  • Constructions of fatness in a range of cultural contexts;
  • Systems of body quantification, measurement, and conceptualizations of (in)appropriate ‘size’;
  • Fat as it intersects with race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, gender, disability and/or ageing.

Contributions will be expected to orient themselves to the core aims and mission of Feminism & Psychology, which is concerned with publishing work that fosters the development of feminist theory and practice in ­ and beyond ­ psychology, and that provides insights into the gendered reality of everyday lives.

The Special Issue will consist of papers in of the following formats:

  • Papers between 5-­ 6000 words in length;
  • Observation/Commentary-style papers ­ up  to 2500 words in length

Please note that all word counts include reference lists.

Contributions will be selected following an anonymous peer review process.

For further information regarding referencing styles and formatting guidelines, please go to

Please send full-length papers, as Word doc attachments, to Dr Samantha Murray via email at by Friday, 26 November 2010.