Queering Fat Embodiment – An Interview

Queering Fat EmbodimentI am interrupting our usual Marathon Update Sunday because this blog is a stop on the online  tour for the new anthology Queering Fat Embodiment (2014, Ashgate).  For this I did something I’ve never done before and interviewed the lead editor, Cat Pausé who writes Friend of Marilyn:

What made you decide to edit an edition on queering fat embodiment?

One of my co-editors, Samantha Murray, held a Fat Studies conference in Sydney in 2010. After she recovered from everything that comes with running an international conference, she approached me and Jackie Wykes about this edition. Sam knew that Ashgate had a Queer Interventions series, and thought that a book about fatness would be a great edition to the series. Jackie and I agreed, and we moved forward with crafting the book proposal. We pitched it to Ashgate, and were given a contract.

I’m editing The Politics of Size: Perspectives from the Fat-Acceptance Movement at the moment; I’m aware of the amount of work that goes into a work like this…

Oh my goodness, yes. There’s a joke that working with academics is like herding cats, and it is so true. All of the authors that contributed chapters to our collection are amazing, but trying to be in charge of ensuring things are submitted on time, and all using the same referencing style, and what order will best present the material – it was trying at times. Lots of late nights; lots of overnight Skype chats between myself and my co-editors. Once it was done, though, I was ready to go again. I’m thinking an edition about fat and the family might be my next editing project.

Can you explain what it means to queer fat embodiment?

Queer is a heterogeneous and multidisciplinary practice aimed at ‘bringing forth’ and thus denaturalising the taken for granted, the invisible, the normalised. And queering is a methodology (or method) of disrupting the norm. This collection seeks to challenge and destabilise existing ideas of fat and fat embodiment both outside of and within the emerging field of Fat Studies. In queering established ideas about fat bodies, and presenting challenging inquiries/inqueeries into these notions, this collection destabilises established ideas about fat bodies, making explicit the intersectionality of fat identities.

What do you like most about the edition?

I love the variety in the contributing chapters – we have established academics, like Katie LeBesco and Robyn Longhurst, and PhD students, like James Burford. We have pieces, like Katie’s, that are really challenging and complex (I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the idea of size f*cking!), and then other chapters, like mine, that are less theoretical; more applied. I wish we would have been more successful at ensuring that the collection was more intersectional, but I am proud of the final product.

And I understand that you’re promoting the final book through a variety of ways?

We kicked it off with a global launch in Google Hangouts on Air, which was a cool way to have participation from many of the contributors across the world. It also allowed anyone to attend the launch with us online. After the launch, we embarked on a social media book tour. You can find the tour spots (to date) here, and we are adding more every couple of days (if anyone reading would like to be a spot on the tour, just let me know @FOMNZ). We’ve had spots on Facebook, Tumblr, blogs, online magazines, YouTube, etc. It’s been a great way to promote the book across the World Wide Web from the comfort of my couch! J

How can people get their hands on the book?

Honestly? It’s an academic text, so it’s super expensive. You can get a copy of the Introduction Ch by Jackie Wykes on the publisher’s website. It’s a great read and gives a great overview of the topic and the chapters. If you want to read the entire thing, I’d recommend asking your local library to get a copy.

So, what’s next for you?

It’s really exciting to see all the movement in both fat activism and fat studies scholarship. I edited the newest issue of Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society; it’s a special issue on the theme of intersectionality. And I’ve got chapters in two upcoming fat studies edited collections. The first is Fat Sex: New Directions in Theory and Activism, being edited for Ashgate by Caroline Walters and Helen Hester. The other is The Fat Pedagogy Reader: Challenging Weight-Based Oppression in Education, being edited for Peter Lang Publishers by Erin Cameron & Connie Russell. On the activist front, I’m really excited about being a speaker at the upcoming Fat Activism Conference. It’s going to be an amazing three days!

So that’s the interview! What do you think awesome loyal readers – did you like the interview format?  Did you not?  Let me know in the comments!

Speaking of the Fat Activism Conference, it’s going to be epic! Three days, 40 speakers, 30 workshops, teleconference style so that you can listen on the phone or computer from wherever you are, recorded so you can listen live or on your own time, only $39 with a pay-what-you-can-afford option to make it accessible to as many people as possible.  Check it out!

Book Me!  I give talks all across the country about self-esteem, body image, health and wellness for people of size and more, and I’d love to speak to your organization. (I’ll be in Northern New York and Central Pennsylvania in the next couple of months if you are in those areas and would like to add an event to those trips.) You can get more information on topics, previous engagements and reviews here or just e-mail me at ragen at danceswithfat dot org!

Like this blog? Consider supporting my work with a donation or by  becoming a member! For ten bucks a month you can support size diversity activism, help keep the blog ad free, and get deals from size positive businesses as a thank you. I get paid for some of my speaking and writing (and do both on a sliding scale to keep it affordable), but a lot of the work I do (like answering hundreds of request for help and support every day) isn’t paid so member support makes it possible (THANK YOU to my members, I couldn’t do this without you and I really can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support!)   Click here for details

Here’s more cool stuff:

My Book:  Fat:  The Owner’s Manual  The E-Book is Name Your Own Price! Click here for details

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5 thoughts on “Queering Fat Embodiment – An Interview

  1. Wow. I love your interview and it conveys all the needed information.

    I will definitely have to check out this book.

    1. Me, too! Interview was solid and will def see about finding the intro chapter. But…I like the trading updates!

  2. I like the interview very much. In particular, it gives the clearest definition I’ve ever seen of what “queering” means.

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