Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections

On 12 July, Fat Studies: Reflective Intersections kicks off at Massey University.

I am SUPER excited about this conference: not only is it my first time to host an international conference, but it is the first NZ Fat Studies conference, and my first Fat Studies conference since the amazing Fat Studies: A Critical Dialogue in Sydney in 2010.

FS: RI takes place across two days on the Wellington campus. The programme is jammed pack full of panels, papers, films, and a Keynote from Dr. Samantha Murray. If you want to check out the full programme, you may find it here.  While I am confident that all of the sessions will be good value, I thought I’d pull out some bits about the ones I am most excited about at this moment. Ask me tomorrow, and I’ll probably highlight different ones *smile*


Fat bodies politic: Neoliberalism, biopower, and the ‘obesity epidemic’ by Jackie Wykes

This paper will argue that the discursive construction of the ‘obesity epidemic’ mobilises neoliberal concepts of risk and responsibility to produce fat people as failed subjects across various sites of power, including capitalist production, profitability, and reproductive (hetero)sexuality.


Que(e)rying fat pride by Jamie Burford

I begin by engaging autoethnographic and lyric inquiry to reflect on my experiences at the intersections of gay, genderqueer/trans* and fat politics in Aotearoa-New Zealand.  I pay particular attention to my experience of fat shame and pride in the sexuality and gender diverse communities I participate in.


The role of diagnosis in marginalising corpulence by Annemarie Jutel

In this presentation, using overweight as a heuristic, I will describe the social model of diagnosis and how it assists us to understand contemporary attitudes to health, illness and disease.  At the same time I will explain how the ascendance of diagnosis and the paradigm of evidence based practice have forced the emergence of overweight as a disease category.


Save the whales: An examination of the relationship between academics/professionals and fat activists by Kath Read

This essay presentation will be an examination of the relationship between academics and other professionals in the fields related to weight and health, and fat activists, with particular focus on power and privilege. 


Queer(y)ing body size: Opening up space for difference by Robyn Longhurst

Over the past decade queer theorists have ‘unfixed’ sex and gender. In a similar manner, I aim to ‘unfix’ body size and shape. As people age, become ill, pregnant, menopausal, change diets and jobs, slim, bulk up, work out, and undergo surgery, their bodies change in size and shape.


Multiple intersections: Autoethnography, Fat Studies and endurance running: “The case of the fat athlete” by Andrew Dickson

This paper attempts to uncomfortably knit Fat Studies with Sport Studies using the methodological glue that is autoethnography. Using psychoanalysis and the age-old concept of the hysteric I theorise how a fat person such as me can work to unsettle the construction of ‘an athlete’ and indeed the entire framework that is ‘athleticism’. 


Fat lived ambiguities: Fat political selves and weight loss surgery by Samantha Murray (Keynote)

This might be a story about a bad fatty. Or, perhaps it is a story about a good fatty gone bad. Or a bad fatty made good, depending on your perspective and socio-cultural investments.

In this paper, I wish to foreground a critical narrative of fat being-in-the-world and engage/theorise my multiple and seemingly contradictory fat subjectivities: as a Fat Studies scholar, as one engaged in an ongoing fat activist project, as a feminist who remains (and identifies as) fat, and as a woman who has undergone weight loss surgery.


I can barely contain my excitement!!!

If you’re around, it’s gonna be a great two days!

If you can’t make it to NZ, but still want to engage – register as an online delegate.

For $50 NZD, $40 USD, $25 BGP, $39 AUD, you’ll get access to recordings of all panels, papers, and the Keynote address.

If you have any questions about the conference, email the organiser: fs2012@massey.ac.nz