For cynics like myself,
Even as science, medicine and government have defined obesity as a threat to the nation’s health and treasury, fat studies is emerging as a new interdisciplinary area of study on campuses across the country and is gaining interest in Australia and Britain. Nestled within the humanities and social sciences fields, fat studies explores the social and political consequences of being fat
I would have thought that with all the media coverage of the obesity “epidemic”, the social and political consequences of being fat would have been explored down to the skin and bones by now.
Of course not.
Help! I’m being repressed!
For most scholars of fat, though,
not to be confused with run-of-the-mill fat scholars,
it is not an objective pursuit. Proponents of fat studies see it as the sister subject — and it is most often women promoting the study, many of whom are lesbian activists — to women’s studies, queer studies, disability studies and ethnic studies. In many of its permutations, then, it is the study of a people its supporters believe are victims of prejudice, stereotypes and oppression by mainstream society.
Obviously they never heard of the term “fat cat” because it’s been replaced with the term “da man”.
While many of the proponents of fat studies hope “that one day fat studies will be as ubiquitous on campus as Shakespeare” (after probably having found evidence that Shax was more than just pleasantly plump – with a subsequent “Shakespeare’s lost menus” doctoral dissertation or two), at least someone’s not buying it,
Others argue, though, that a movement does not make a scholarly pursuit and that this is simply a way to institutionalize victimhood.
“In one field after another, passion and venting have come to define the nature of what academics do,” said Stephen H. Balch, president of the National Association of Scholars, a group of university professors and academics who have a more traditional view of higher education. “Ethnic studies, women’s studies, queer studies — they’re all about vindicating the grievances of some particular group. That’s not what the academy should be about.
“Obviously in the classroom you can look at issues of right and wrong and justice and injustice,” he added, “But if the purpose is to vindicate fatness, to make fatness seem better in the eyes of society, then that purpose begs a fundamental intellectual question.”
Let’s give a blogger the last word:
Or as Big Arm Woman, a blogger, wrote: “I don’t care if people are fat or thin. I do, however, care that universities are spending money on scholarship about the ‘politics of fatness’ when half of the freshman class can’t read or write at the college level.”
(*) Yes, the NYT’s still arriving. Will they discontinue delivery? Fat chance!
Well, surprise, surprise:
|What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm
You’re probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people’s grammatical mistakes make you insane.
|Literate Good Citizen||
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h/t Happy Catholic
(technorati tags fat studies Carnival of the Insanities universities Education)
I agree that a movement does not necessarily make a scholarly pursuit, but it may well herald the end of a bowel obstruction!