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Fat Studies MOOO
The Fat Studies MOOO (like a MOOC, but fat!) is a newly launched massive online open offering hosted by Friend of Marilyn. The intention is to provide an accessible space for those interested to come together and learn and engage around a Fat Studies topic. The MOOO will allow for global advancement of the Fat Studies discipline through an innovative methodology/technology to enhance scholars, researchers, and activists, working in this space. It will also allow for increased public engagement with Fat Studies research and related societal issues for fat people. This will improve social welfare, and enhance the quality of life for fat people across the world.

We aim to host a Fat Studies MOOO each month; registration is required for each event.

Topic: Fatness and disability
Guest scholar: April Herndon
April Herndon earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from Michigan State University. Her work has appeared in journals such as Perspectives in Biology in Medicine, Social Semiotics, and Food, Culture and Society. Her monograph, Fat Blame: How the War on Obesity Victimizes Women and Children was published in 2014 by University Press of Kansas. Most recently, her work appears in a collection from Demeter Press, Heavy Burdens: Stories of Motherhood and Fatness. She has additional work forthcoming in a collection called Thickening Fat and in the Handbook of Fat Studies. Most of April’s published work around fatness focuses on how fatness intersects with identities such as disability, race, and gender, and she is especially interested in how ideas of “good” mothering are influenced by stigma around these identities. In addition to her academic work, April takes her work with bodies to a yoga mat, teaching yoga classes that are designed to be adaptable for many different bodies. This summer she will teach a yoga session designed specifically for big bodies.

Currently, there are complications and tensions around fatness and disability and an important and ongoing conversation about the nuances of tying fatness and disability together and the possible consequences of doing so. In this talk, I will review the scholarship about fatness as a disability with the aim of showing that—twenty years out from Charlotte Coopers’ landmark initial inquiry into whether a fat woman can call herself disabled and fifteen years out from my own similar inquiry—fatness as a disability is still being explored by scholars in ways that raise important and challenging questions. From the perspective of many people in the scholarly and activist community, in a world where both people who are fat and people who are disabled (and perhaps especially people who live at the intersections of those identities and other marginalized social locations) are still positioned as social pariahs, thinking through fatness as a disability still offers personal and political possibilities for justice and an important means of thinking through lived experiences using an intersectional model. In the end, I will suggest that more theorizing needs to be done about disability and fatness and how those categories interact with social locations such as race, sexuality, and class so that we can best understand people’s experiences of their bodies and how fatness and disability are often co-constructed.

Event Details
6 March at 3pm Pacific

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Registration opens 22 Feb 2019 and will close once all spaces are filled
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