Monday, November 27, 2006

Big People on Campus

Abby Ellin reported in The New York Times
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.

Here's a local example.
At the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, the subject has emerged in a course, "The Social Construction of Obesity," taught by Margaret Carlisle Duncan, a professor in the department of human movement sciences, who takes a skeptical view of the “war on obesity".

She is guest editor of a special issue of Sociology of Sport's Journal on "The Social Construction of Fat". Here is the call for papers [1 p. pdf].

The movement has critics.
"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."

To ask the "what the academy should be about" will presumably lead to an emerging metainterdisciplinary Studies Studies.

(via Althouse)

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