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FYI. Special issue of Fat Studies CFP: Representing Fatness through Critical and Artistic Practice


Call for Proposals: Special issue of Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society called Representing Fatness through Critical and Artistic Practice

Guest Editor: Dr. Lori Don Levan, Penn State University, ldlevan7@gmail.com

To be considered for inclusion in this special issue, please send a 250-400 word proposal and current CV or resume to Lori Don Levan (ldlevan7@gmail.com) no later than December 20th, 2020.  Please put “Fat Studies Art Proposal” in the subject so it isn’t missed! Any questions should be emailed to the guest editor as well.


Fatness is represented in a myriad of creative ways through the visual arts and visual culture. This special issue of Fat Studies called Representing Fatness through Critical and Artistic Practice offers an opportunity to examine art-making and visual culture through a critical lens. We are looking for proposals that discuss a variety of subject matter as it relates to visual culture and artistic practice. Proposals may be developed through a variety of lenses such as art historical, artmaking, visual culture, art education, feminism and related fields of study. We are also looking for creative proposals that challenge academic norms, use interdisciplinary methods, and/or provide insight into art practice that is centered on fat bodies and fat experiences. International perspectives are welcome.

Potential topics include but are not limited to:

·      Fat bodies in an art historical context

·      Fat bodies in contemporary art practice

·      Artistic practice that focuses on fat bodies as subject matter

·      LGTBQ+ issues centering on fatness and visual representation

·      Using self-portraiture as a way to create a critical space for dialogue relating to intersectionality.

·      Autobiography and the self-portrait

·      Challenging the Beauty/Ugly binary in visual culture

·      The fat body as spectacle

·      Performing fatness

·      Creating sites of resistance to fat stereotypes

·      Visual representation of disability and the fat body

·      Fat fashion as resistance to social and cultural norms

·      Building female empowerment through the visual image

·      Examining the corporeal voice of fat women artists who combine visual images with creative writing

·      Visual representations of fatness as protest

·      Resisting fat phobia through alternative visual representations

·      Creating fat images through collaboration

·      Visualizing fatness in the art classroom

·      Fatness, objectification and agency in artistic practice

·      Fat ladies on view! Burlesque, sideshows and freaks

·      Visualizing the fat male body

·      Fatness visualized through a racial/ethnic lens

·      Fat bodies and social media

·      Identifying and analyzing fat bodies in comics

·      Decentering the white ideal in visual representation.

Asking questions regarding fat visual representation are welcome, including:

·      How do we create visual resistance and what does it look like through the visual arts? 

·      Where do we make ourselves visible/draw attention to ourselves through visual representation? 

·      How do we measure the success of visibility through artistic practice?

·      Where do images of fatness and against fatness exist in visual culture?

Creative alternatives are also welcome:

·      Visual fat manifesto

·      Discussing the trajectory of a body of artwork about fatness through reflective journaling and image making

·      Documenting fat creatives in their workspaces

·      An artistic self-study focused on the corporeal experience of being fat

Contributors will be notified of the status of their proposal by January 15th, 2021. Full manuscripts, including all notes, references, appendices, and tables/figures, should be no longer than 5,500 words. 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 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. 

Fat Studies is an interdisciplinary, international field of scholarship that critically examines societal attitudes and practices about body weight and appearance. Fat Studies advocates equality for all people regardless of body size. It explores the way fat people are oppressed, the reasons why, who benefits from that oppression and how to liberate fat people from oppression. Fat Studies seeks to challenge and remove the negative associations that society has about fat and the fat body. It regards weight, like height, as a human characteristic that varies widely across any population. Fat Studies is similar to academic disciplines that focus on race, ethnicity, gender, or age.