CFP for Fat Studies Research, Artistry, and Activism

deadline for submissions: 
October 5, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Fat Studies Area of the Popular Culture Association
contact email: 

Fat Studies is an interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary field of study that confronts and critiques cultural constraints against notions of “fatness” and “the fat body”; explores fat bodies as they live in, are shaped by, and remake the world; and creates paradigms for the development of fat acceptance or celebration within mass culture. Fat Studies uses body size as the starting point for a wide-ranging theorization and explication of how societies and cultures, past and present, have conceptualized all bodies and the political/cultural meanings ascribed to every body. Fat Studies reminds us that all bodies are inscribed with the fears and hopes of the particular culture they reside in, and these emotions often are mislabeled as objective “facts” of health and biology. More importantly, perhaps, Fat Studies insists on the recognition that fat identity can be as fundamental and world-shaping as other identity constructs analyzed within the academy and represented in media.  


Please join other Fat Studies scholars at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, DC from April 17-20, 2019 for the PCA/ACA National Conference. Presenters must become members of the Popular Culture Association. Find more information on the conference and organization at


The deadline for online submission of presentations is October 1, 2018.Please do not email your abstract to the Fat Studies Area Chair; you must submit your presentation via the PCA/ACA online database. You can find instructions here: For individual papers, please submit a title and 100-word abstract. For themed paper sessions, each presenter must enter their own presentation and the session chair should contact Lesleigh Owen to assemble them into a panel. Please contact Lesleigh for help in submitting roundtable discussions.


Fat Studies is amenable to papers and performances from academics, researchers, intellectuals, activists, and artists, in any field of study, and at any stage in their career.


Key Dates:

Oct 1, 2018: Registration Opens

Oct 1, 2018: Deadline for Paper Proposals

Nov 15, 2018: Early Bird Registration Rate Ends

Dec 1, 2018: Registration Deadline and Preliminary Program Available

Dec 1, 2018: Deadline to apply for travel scholarships (

Dec 15, 2018: “Drop Dead” Date:  Participants Not Registered Removed from Program


All submissions are welcome, but please ensure your proposal fits within the academic and political scopes of Fat Studies. Please also be mindful that Fat Studies is a political project and not merely an umbrella term for all discussions of larger bodies. Additionally, submitters should rethink using words like “obesity” and “overweight” in their presentations unless they are used ironically, within quotes, or accompanied by a political analysis.


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 fatness and fat bodies
  • cultural, historical, inter/intrapersonal, or philosophical meanings of fat and fat bodies
  • the geography and lived experience of fatness and fat bodies
  • portrayals of fat individuals and groups in news, media, magazines
  • fatness as a social or political identity
  • 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, and/or sexuality
  • history and/or critique of diet books and scams
  • functions of fatphobia or fat oppression in economic and political systems



If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the PCA/ACA Fat Studies Chair, Lesleigh Owen (