Monday, July 05, 2010

CFP: Fat Studies Edited Anthology

Given some of the recent discussions here about larger heroines (beginning part way through this post, and continuing in the comments here) I thought there would be plenty of material to work with in the romance genre in response to the following call for papers which I came across via The F Word but which originally came from Obesity Timebomb. Interestingly, when I went to look at AAR's special title listings, I noticed that they have a page about "plus-sized heroines" but there isn't an equivalent page for romances with "plus-sized" heroes (although there is one "overweight" hero included on the "Beauty is in the Eye ..." list).

CFP for fat studies edited anthology

Julia McCrossin and I were approached at the PCA/ACA Conference by a publisher and asked to put together a fat studies anthology. The result is the call for papers listed below. Please feel free to distribute far and wide with our thanks.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email either Julia or me. Our addresses are listed below. Huge thanks, and I look forward to hearing from many of you! :)

~Lesleigh Owen

Call for Anthology Submissions

Tentative title: The Unbearable Fatness of Being: Enlarging Theories of Embodiment

Type: Edited anthology

Submission deadline: August 20, 2010

Contacts and editors: Julia McCrossin,;

Lesleigh Owen, Ph.D.,

This edited collection seeks to publish recent scholarship that pushes at the boundaries of the existent scholarship on embodiment, from a Fat Studies perspective. As Fat Studies is an emerging field, there are copious amounts of terrain left to map out, and this collection will display the provocatively expansive ways that emergent Fat Studies scholars conceptualize the fat body and the cultural work the fat body does in various times, places, and societies. The purpose of this work includes pushing back at the “obesity epidemic” rhetorics in ways that are at once connected to affiliated work in fields like disability studies, queer studies, gender studies (to name a few), and yet uniquely their own. In conclusion, this edited collection will offer crucial new pathways for the generative field of Fat Studies, as well as offer an exciting look at the developing scholars in this field. Perhaps one might say that Fat Studies seeks to integrate within cultural studies and the academy in general a critical body of work on fatness, layering our current understandings of the material body along with metaphoric and/or immaterial ways that fatness saturates our (post) modern world.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • representations of fat people in literature, film, music, nonfiction, and the visual arts
  • cross-cultural or global constructions of fat bodies
  • cultural, historical, or philosophical meanings of fat and fat bodies
  • portrayals of fat individuals and groups in news, media, magazines
  • fatness as a social, political, personal, and/or performed identity
  • phenomenology of fat movement and be-ing in a variety of physical (and physiological) contexts
  • fat as queering sex, beauty, gender, and other embodied performances
  • negotiating fat within locations, space, and time
  • representing weighted embodiments in such creative or abstract forms as, for example, visual art, poetry, personal narratives, and literature
  • fat acceptance, activism, and/or pride movements and tactics
  • approaches to fat and body image in philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology
  • fat children in literature, media, and/or pedagogy
  • fat as it intersects with race, ethnicity, class, religion, ability, gender, nationality, and/or sexuality
  • functions of fatphobia or fat oppression in economic and political systems

Submissions are due August 20, 2010. We welcome traditional and non-traditional formats, including research articles, photographs, poetry, reports of performance art, and others. Articles and papers should range between 15 and 20 double-spaced pages. Please send submissions, along with a brief biographical sketch, directly to and/or

Lesleigh J. Owen's "Consuming Bodies: Fatness, Sexuality, and the Protestant Ethic" is available online via the University of California's eScholarship site.

Julia McCrossin,
an English professor and doctoral candidate at GW [George Washington University], first came across the idea of fat studies in 2003 during an introductory cultural anthropology course. Six years later, McCrossin is one of the few experts bringing the field into the national limelight.

McCrossin said the field of fat studies encompasses many aspects of society, from film, literature and popular culture, to anthropology and history. Her studies are often focused on literary characters and the impact that the characters' obesity has on the plot of the novel.

"I wanted to think about why some characters 'needed' to be fat and how that fatness affected the works in which they existed in," she said. (
Summaries of some of the papers presented at the 2010 PCA/ACA Conference's fat studies panels have been written by "withoutscene" and are available here.


  1. Following a discussion of overweight heroes on the Romance board of, I compiled a Listmania list of romance novels/love stories with overweight heroes. The title of the list is "Romances With Portly Heroes."

  2. Thanks for letting us know. I found the list and it's interesting how many of the heroes seem to end up losing weight (though judging by the descriptions you give of the novels, not all do).