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The Fat Studies Reader

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ISBN-13: 978-0814776308
ISBN-10: 0814776302
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With 40 essays that span an impressive array of academic and popular approaches, this book is the first to collect the essential texts of the blossoming discipline known as fat studies, which explores why the oppression of fat people remains acceptable in American culture. As contributor Bianca D.M. Wilson notes in her piece, fat studies is an arena where the personal, political and scientific converge, and with this book, readers can mount an informed challenge to the medical construction of obesity and size, the diet industry, insurance companies, public policy and popular culture. Arranged thematically, the essays survey the social and historical construction of fatness, fatness as social inequality and even size-ism in popular culture and literature. While one essay points out the North American biases of the current state of fat studies, new cross-cultural work would do well to attend to this volume first. It may be too soon for the movement to offer utopian alternatives, but these essays offer a rich supply of tools for the activist and scholar willing to start the revolution, including a fat liberation manifesto. (Dec.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"The book...mark[s] a watershed moment in fat studies."
-Michael Brown,Townhall.com

“A path-breaking anthology, and the first to map this emerging field. Leading scholars and activists from diverse disciplinary backgrounds explore the pervasiveness of prejudice based on body size, and challenge conventional policy responses. By focusing on goals of health, fitness, and social tolerance, The Fat Studies Reader redefines the ‘problem’ of weight and invites more promising solutions.”

-Deborah Rhode,Stanford Law School



“So what’s wrong with putting on an extra pound, or ten pounds, or, for that matter, a hundred and ten? According to the contributors to The Fat Studies Reader, nothing.”

-The New Yorker



“It is, so far as I know, the first book of its kind on fat studies and hence represents essential reading for those who want to know what fat studies is all about as well as for those who have working in some component of the field but want a collection that deals with a vast variety of issues and places the movement in a wider context.”
-Metapsychology Online Reviews



“The publication of Fat Studies Reader  is a watershed in the institutionalization of this new field. The thick volume comprises forty succinct pieces authored by a mix of established researchers and budding new scholars, overwhelmingly women, working in diverse academic fields from within the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences... Readers will find plenty to chew on in this big, fat, juicy volume.” -Women’s Review of Books

“In the US, where two-thirds of the population are overweight or obese, the forthcoming book The Fat Studies Reader argues the problem is not obesity per se but the way it is presented in culture. Sociologists point to a ‘societal fat phobia’ which engenders prejudice against the obese—and argue that this prejudice is tolerated by those who would never dream of making racist or sexist remarks.”

-The Independent (UK)



"The value of this anthology lies not just in the scholarly analyses, and the critical lens applied to traditional assumptions and social practices, but its development of a call to action." -Sex Roles

“With a winning audacity, The Fat Studies Reader announces its intention to serve as the foundation of a new academic field. Its editors present convincing voices from law, medicine, social sciences and the humanities, making it difficult to dismiss their case that the time has come for fat studies.”

-Ms. Magazine



“This book wastes no time getting in the reader’s face about its intentions to break critical ground on the emerging field of fat studies and the need to combat inequities limiting the lives of fat people. The tone is strident; the essays will provoke reactions, especially from scholars studying obesity and other weight-related issues within a public health framework... This unapologetic reader, laced throughout with theory, analysis, and research findings, is written in a consistently direct and impassioned style. It is an invaluable map of fat studies, giving voice to its proponents and outlining an agenda for future work. Summing Up: Essential.”-Choice

“These hard-hitting, provocative essays set the stage for a new paradigm honoring weight diversity and mark an important moment in the history of social justice.”
-Linda Bacon,author of Health at Every Size



"The publication of The Fat Studies Reader marks an important moment in the evolution of fat studies as a field. Edited by Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solovay, both preeminent scholars in their field, the anthology brings together a diverse array of perspectives from scholars and activists, some already notable figures in the field and other up and coming. Several pieces, including the editors' introduction, provide useful overviews of the history of fat activism and the emergent field of fat studies."-Anna E. Ward,American Quarterly

The Fat Studies Reader does the important work of exploding assumed connections between weight and health. . .Feminists of all sizes who care about the answers should jump in to continue the discussion.”-Bitch Magazine



"An eye-opening, thought-provoking volume that challenges our basic assumptions as well as the 'truths' by which we have lived our lives, and eclares war on the 'War on Obesity'."
-Feminism & Psychology

“Rothblum . . . wonders if part of the appeal of plus-sized shows stems from the overweight being held up for public ridicule.”
-CNN.com



“The essays rarely come across as didactic, and the milestone achievement of this collection is the way it combines public policy and chick-lit, eroto-politics and gay chubb-chasers, job discrimination and lesbian size queens.”
-Curve Magazine



“In The Fat Studies Reader, Rothblum and co-editor Sondra Solovay have compiled the work of 53 authors whose multi-disciplinary research on fat studies examines and critiques prevailing assumptions around being fat in a country obsessed with the ‘obesity epidemic.’”

-VoiceofSanDiego.org



“With forty essays that span an impressive array of academic and popular approaches, this book is the first to collect the essential texts of the blossoming discipline known as fat studies, which explores why the oppression of fat people remains acceptable in American culture. . . . Fat studies is an arena where the personal, political and scientific converge, and with this book, readers can mount an informed challenge to the medical construction of obesity and size, the diet industry, insurance companies, public policy and popular culture. . . . It may be too soon for the movement to offer utopian alternatives, but these essays offer a rich supply of tools for the activist and scholar willing to start the revolution.”
-Publishers Weekly

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 396 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (November 4, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814776302
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814776308
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7.2 x 10.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,738,449 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Pattie Thomas, Ph.D. is a Sociologist who currently teaches at the College of Southern Nevada in Las Vegas. She has published over 200 articles as a freelance writer, is an active blogger and multi-media producer, often collaborating with her husband, Carl Wilkerson, MBA. Thomas has faced multiple challenges over the years including the stigmas associated with being fat and being disabled. Rather than let these challenges overcome her, she has used them to energize her work, her advocacy and her life. Of late, Thomas has been involved in promoting Universal Design and Visitability in residential housing.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By NCB on November 6, 2009
Format: Paperback
This is a comprehensive and needed volume that introduces Fat Studies as a discipline as well as a needed antidote to rampant fear-mongering about obesity. Intellectually solid, creative, political and inter-disciplinary, this volume is an absolute must-read for anyone interested in a critical perspective on the current discourse on obesity!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Angela T on April 16, 2010
Format: Paperback
This is a truly indispensable resource which has no comparison in the current literature. Other titles glaze over some of the topics covered here, but none in such comprehensive detail. Part civil rights manifesto, scientific treatise and interdisciplinary reader this volume goes where others dare not tread. I highly recommend this title for inclusion in any analysis of popular culture and it's effects on diversity.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Joe S. on March 31, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What an amazing book. I read every single page and every essay and loved it start to finish.

In some ways I've always felt like a late-comer to Fat Studies, though the pursuit is still in its nascence, but the Fat Studies Reader caught me up to speed on a variety of topics.

I love that this book is out there and I only hope that it will get into more classrooms so that students can start to understand that there's so much more dimension to a fat life than the medicalized view of "obesity" allows.

Congratulations to all of those involved in this amazing project.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sarah on March 8, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book is certainly heavy! ;) Yes, the writing (as mentioned in several other reviews) is quite academic. Much of the research, however, was interesting to me. Purely anecdotal stories of a "fat experience" would be empty without some level of research. That being said, I have not been able to read this entire book cover-to-cover. Some of the writing tends to come off as preachy and totally anti-Western-medicine-as-all-bad. This is difficult for me since I am familiar with a clinical perspective since I am part of the healthcare field!

While I certainly agree that the self-defined "fat" people are fully deserving of respect and should not be stigmatized to such an extent as they are (especially in healthcare)--there is also a reality associated with risk. Marathon runners can ruin their joints...as can 400+ pounds of weight. The body does have limits...in many realms. I agree that much of "fat" stereotyping is totally unfair (i.e. picture of fat tummy with no face person) and I'm relieved this book examined some of the history behind societally acceptable weight and how the medical community changes it's tune accordingly.

Overall, many of the chapters I have read, I have enjoyed! This is a great perspective for someone who is naturally skinny and is frequently encouraged to give unsolicited weight "advice" to patients in a healthcare setting. I have never felt that was a fair playing ground for anyone involved--especially the patient. I have many healthy, fat friends who are ostracized for their fat frame and constantly encouraged to lose weight...the emphasis on weight is overdone and BMI is only relevant to an extent.

Some statements in this book are questionable. For example, "Fat people who need organ transplants may be told to lose weight to be eligible.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Shaunta Grimes on May 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Fat Studies Reader is exactly what it sounds like: a collection of essays by some of the most important and smart voices in the body acceptance/fat acceptance world. It is meant as a text book for those who want to enter into fat studies as an academic pursuit, or who just want a broad perspective for personal study on the subject.

The introduction, by editors Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solovay, calls The Fat Studies Reader the "first comprehensive anthology that maps the contours of this emerging field." The book starts with a foreword by Marilyn Wann and continues from there with dozens of articles divided into these parts:

What is Fat Studies?
Fat Studies in Health and Medicine
Fatness as a Social Inequality
Size-ism in Popular Culture and Literature
Embodying and Embracing Fatness
Starting the Revolution

You know how, when you start to research something, you find broad resources that give you a big-picture idea of the topic, and then move from there toward narrowing your field? That's what this book is. A broad resource that gives you a information from a wide variety of important and vibrant voices, and leads you down the path to more focused study.

I'm especially happy to have found this book, because in the fall I'm returning to school to start my senior year. I'm a writing student, but I want to focus my senior study on body acceptance and athleticism. The Size-ism in Popular Culture and Literature part of The Fat Studies Reader will be very helpful to me in the next year.

The Fat Studies Reader is one of those books that I've read slowly and deeply. I'm still working on it. I read one essay, and then find myself needing to think on it. Do fat girls need fictional heroines?
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