Queering Fat Queering Gender
Speaker: Dr Francis White
Join QSN and Dr Francis White for a talk and discussion on "Queering Fat Queering Gender". Dr White will introduce us to key concepts and theory relating to fatness/queerness then delve into their current research on the role of fat in queering binary gender, which will be followed by a detailed discussion and drinks.
There are two recommended readings, which are available here.
The room is fully accessible but feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any specific requirements.
The intensification of discourses of the ‘obesity epidemic’ in the West over the past two decades has consolidated the construction of fat bodies as irredeemably pathological, immoral and socially and physically undesirable. To contest these meanings, and open up alternative possibilities for theorising fatness, some fat studies scholars and activists have explored the value of ‘queering’ fat. This talk will discuss some of these strategies including how fat might be queered through a politics of resignification (LeBesco, 2004) or via its positioning as heteronormative reproductive futurity’s ‘other’ (Edelman, 2004).
Further, the role of fat in queering binary gender will be considered in relation to research undertaken with trans and non-binary people and their experiences of fat/gendered embodiment. This research asks whether approaching the intersection of fat and gender through trans experiences opens up new ways of subverting the assumed relationships between bodies and gendered selves that underpins much of the critical discourse around fatness. Rather than thinking of gender and fat as separate concerns, what would it mean to recognize their inextricability and could this be a productive way of imagining both the queerness of fat, and how bodies ‘do’ gender at all?
About the speaker:
Francis Ray White is a senior lecturer in Sociology at the University of Westminster, London. Their research concerns the intersections of fat, queer and (trans)gender theory and has been published in the journals Somatechnics (2012), Fat Studies (2014) and Sexualities (2016). They are currently working on research projects investigating trans and non-binary embodiment in relation to weight/fatness and on an ESRC-funded project on experiences of trans pregnancy. Francis’ pronouns are they/them.
Readings for discussion:
Chalklin, V. (2016) ‘Obstinate fatties: Fat activism, queer negativity, and the celebration of obesity’. Subjectivity, 9 (2): 107.125.
White, F.R. (2014) ‘Fat/trans: Queering the activist body’. Fat Studies, 3 (2): 86-100.
Illustration by Rudy Russell.
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