Ivy League University Offering Course On ‘Politics Of Fatness’

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Jennifer Nuelle Contributor
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Brown University is offering a week-long summer course called “Politics of Fatness,” ostensibly to instruct incoming students about “fatphobia” in modern society.

The university offers the pre-college course to incoming students, where they will examine theoretical scenarios of viewing “fatness,” through “feminist-gender” and race “lenses.” The course, instructing students to think critically about “fatphobia” in society, is an introduction to the emerging academic field of “fat studies.”

Brown’s pre-college programs are designed for high schoolers to explore the college experience through academics and activities, according to the university’s website. The week-long course, taking place from July 8 to July 12, asks students to “think critically about differing perspectives relating to the stigmatization of fatness in modern society” and “understand and discuss the social, medical, and cultural implications of fatness.”

The Van Wickle Gates of Brown University (August 2012) Yiming Chen / Contributor Editorial #: 548778605 Collection: Moment Mobile Date created: April 11, 2015 Upload date: April 16, 2015 License type: Rights-managed

The Van Wickle Gates of Brown University (August 2012) Photo by Yiming Chen / Contributor/Getty Images

“While thousands of dietitians and even the CDC continue to speak of the so-called ‘obesity epidemic,’ several recent sociological publications have gained recognition detailing the racial origins of fatphobia, condemning the anti-fat sentiment of so many authorities,” the course description reads. (RELATED: Fat Studies Is Now A ‘Social Justice’ Issue According To Oregon State University Professor)

The instructor, Victoria Lonardo, also teaches another course, titled “Women and Leadership,” teaching the concepts of gender, feminism, intersectionality and inclusive leadership.

The university offered a similar course titled “Diet Culture and Fatphobia in the Modern United States,” which was available as an American history elective in Spring 2021. More recently, the university offered a course called “Fat, Messy, and Late: Unregulated Bodies in American Capitalism.”

Universities across the country have created “fat” course studies. Cornell University offered a freshman seminar last fall titled “Have You Eaten Yet? QTBIPOC Care,” to analyze how queer, trans, black, and indigenous people of color receive and experience care through food. Princeton University previously offered a similar course, “FAT: The F-Word and the Public Body.”

Brown University did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request to comment.

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