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The Fat Pedagogy Reader

Challenging Weight-Based Oppression Through Critical Education


Erin Cameron and Constance Russell

Over the past decade, concerns about a global «obesity epidemic» have flourished. Public health messages around physical activity, fitness, and nutrition permeate society despite significant evidence disputing the «facts» we have come to believe about «obesity». We live in a culture that privileges thinness and enables weight-based oppression, often expressed as fat phobia and fat bullying. New interdisciplinary fields that problematize «obesity» have emerged, including critical obesity studies, critical weight studies, and fat studies. There also is a small but growing literature examining weight-based oppression in educational settings in what has come to be called «fat pedagogy». The very first book of its kind, The Fat Pedagogy Reader brings together an international, interdisciplinary roster of respected authors who share heartfelt stories of oppression, privilege, resistance, and action; fascinating descriptions of empirical research; confessional tales of pedagogical (mis)adventures; and diverse accounts of educational interventions that show promise. Taken together, the authors illuminate both possibilities and pitfalls for fat pedagogy that will be of interest to scholars, educators, and social justice activists. Concluding with a fat pedagogy manifesto, the book lays a solid foundation for this important and exciting new field. This book could be adopted in courses in fat studies, critical weight studies, bodies and embodiment, fat pedagogy, feminist pedagogy, gender and education, critical pedagogy, social justice education, and diversity in education.
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Conclusion: A Fat Pedagogy Manifesto


Constance Russell and Erin Cameron

So here we are at the end of The Fat Pedagogy Reader and the two of us find ourselves feeling in the mood for a manifesto. We have been inspired by our fellow authors who have shared heartfelt stories of oppression, privilege, resistance, and action, fascinating descriptions of empirical research, confessional tales of pedagogical (mis)adventures, and diverse accounts of educational interventions that show promise. Taken together, they illuminate possibilities and pitfalls for fat pedagogy. While we are pleased with the contributions, by no means do we think this book is anywhere near being the final word on fat pedagogy. Far from it! Considering “fat pedagogy” entered the lexicon only a few years ago, we imagine that this book is but a glimmer of what is to come in addressing weight-based oppression in and through education.

When we first pitched the book, we envisioned it containing insights gleaned from a wide variety of educational sites, including elementary and secondary schools, colleges and universities, governmental and non-governmental organizations, and informal and social learning contexts. Yet it has unfolded as a decidedly academic book given who responded to the call. The vast majority of chapter authors are employed in postsecondary institutions, and many of these share descriptions of their own teaching experiences. Given we both are university professors and our own chapters are reflections on our own teaching practices, obviously we value such work. Still, we firmly believe that fat pedagogy...

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