Call for papers
In the 21st century the “obesity epidemic” has come to be seen as a public health crisis in North America. But fat did not always have such negative connotations. In the 19th and early 20th centuries there was a lively and complex debate about the meaning of fat and its signalling of both health and beauty. On the one hand, for example, the fashionability of the corset celebrated a wasp-waisted feminine figure, while on the other a robust weight indicated a healthy body.
This collection intends to animate discussion and analysis of fatness during the 19th century, when the body was a key focus of discourse, by asking questions such as who should be fat? Who should be thin? Who sets these standards? What did these corporeal expectations say about larger social systems? How did these expectations shift over time?
We invite submissions from scholars whose work takes a historical approach to addressing aspects of the body and fatness or thinness. We particularly invite work that reflects the racial, ethnic, religious, class, and/or regional differences found in the English-speaking world during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, and encourage submissions that break new ground, ask new questions, and/or deal with groups or issues underrepresented in the existing historiography.
Possible topics of analysis include, but are not limited to:
- how interpretations of fat were shaped by class
- fatness and ethnicity
- gender – idealized (or deviant) male and female bodies
- age – differing interpretations of fatness according to life stage
- representations in popular culture
- popular health movements
- body types going in and out of fashion
- clothing – used to minimize or accentuate various body parts
Interested scholars should send a short (250-500 words) abstract of their proposed paper and a one page CV to either of the editors by June 1, 2019.
Authors of accepted proposals will be notified by June 15, 2019.
Authors of accepted proposals will be asked to submit a completed essay of 5,000-7,000 words aimed at a 1st or 2nd year university level, formatted in Chicago style, no later than November 15, 2019. Questions, enquiries, and submissions may be sent to either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org