Fat studies is the field that teaches students to view obesity as 'oppression'

Fat Studies is an academic field that 'confronts and critiques cultural constraints against notions of ‘fatness’ and ‘the fat body,' the Popular Culture Association states on its website.

Fat Studies is an academic field that “confronts and critiques cultural constraints against notions of ‘fatness’ and ‘the fat body,” the Popular Culture Association states on its website. 

Fat studies courses promote the concept peddled by left-wing academics that normalizes fatness and accredits physical wellbeing to right-wing rhetoric, Campus Reform Editor in Chief Zachary Marschall explained in his latest editorial

Below is a list of sample Fat Studies courses taught last academic year and offered for the 2022-2023 year. 

Washington State University

Washington State University’s (WSU) “Fat Studies“ course is offered to students who have a junior standing or higher and will be available through Summer 2022.

The class is offered via the Apparel, Merchandising, Design, And Textiles department and the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course. Alternative versions of the course were previously offered in the Women’s Studies department, as well.

The WSU course catalog states that the class will examine “weight-based oppression as a social justice issue with other systems of oppression based on gender, race, class, age, sexual orientation, and ability.”

Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University (SOU) will offer ”Fat Studies: Bodies, Culture, and Politics“ for the 2022-2023 academic year.

According to SOU’s course catalog, the “Fat Studies: Bodies, Culture and Politics” class will be an introduction to the “burgeoning area of Fat Studies, with a focus on fatness in the U.S. today.” 

The description further states that students will “interrogate the war on obesity, moral panics around body size, the construct of fitness, health at every size models, and fat-positivity in order to deconstruct the meanings of fatness.” 

SOU’s four-credit Fat Studies course will also look into the ways that “gender, sexuality, race, class, and disability intersect in relation to fatness,” and “the interrelationships between feminist and queer politics and fat activism.” 

Lewis & Clark Graduate School

The Lewis & Clark Graduate School in Oregon offered the course “Fat Studies & Health at Every Size” as part of its “Eating Disorders Certificate Program” during the spring 2022 semester.

The course was a two-day lecture held online on Feb. 18 and 19. 

According to the class description, students in the Fat Studies class “examine fat bias, fat shame and weight-based oppression as a social justice issue that intersects with other systems of oppression.”

The Graduate School also explains that its Fat Studies course will include an introduction to “the paradigm of Health At Every Size (HAES), a weight-neutral approach to health promotion that emphasizes size diversity, intuitive eating, and joyful movement.” 

University of Kansas

The University of Kansas (KU) offers a course titled “Fat, Food and the Body in Global Perspective“ that is worth 3 credits for the 2022-2023 academic year. 

KU’s course catalog states that the class will bring “into the dialogue” a number of “disciplinary voices,” including “fat studies, feminist theory,” and “food studies.”

The description further explains that topics “may include the cultural and gender politics of fatness and thinness; anorexia and feederism; food, sex, and animality;” “food purity movements; neoliberalism and the consuming body; and the material and symbolic aspects of fats and oils.”

Portland State University

Portland State University’s (PSU) “Embracing Size Diversity“ 
course focuses on “the relationship between discrimination caused by body size and gender” and “weight stigma” as a social construction. It is offered as a senior capstone option.

PSU’s class places an emphasis on the Health at Every Size™ (HAES) approach and advocates for “size equity.”

“Students use social justice and healthcare perspectives to question weight bias and explore ways in which we can resist sizeism,” the course description states.

Director of Strategic Communications Christina Williams told Campus Reform the course “studies the impact of weight bias and stigma on individuals and society from a public health perspective.”

Washington University in St. Louis

The Washington University in St. Louis Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Department offered “Queering the History of Health“ during the spring 2022 semester.

This class used an “intersectional lens” to examine the circumstances that produce “false binaries” such as “healthy” and “slender” versus “fat, and irresponsible.” 

The course description states that “these binaries have created and maintained social, political, and cultural inequalities and have been used as a powerful ideological weapon against queer and trans people of color, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, fat people, and other people who do not/cannot embody normative race.” 

DePaul University

The “Contested Bodies” course description from DePaul University states that students will consider “the experiences of bodies that don’t fit the norm: queer bodies, fat bodies, transgender bodies, bodies of color.” 

The course is offered for the 2022-2023 academic year.

“In Western/Global North cultures, the mind is given more importance than the body, and historically, oppressed groups have been associated more with bodies than minds,” the catalog states. “The course will aid in understanding and questioning the dominant norms that promote ‘normal’ bodies and normative embodiment and offer alternative theories[.]” 

The Ohio State University

The “Food & Gender” class at Ohio State University is worth 3 credit hours. It will be offered during the fall 2022 semester.

The course description describes food as a means for understanding society.

“If you are what you eat,” the description reads, “then food is a means for understanding gender, sexuality, culture, society, race, and socioeconomic class.” 

The class will also include topics such as “pleasure,” “fat studies, boycotts,” and “eating disorders” 

Montclair State University

Montclair State University’s Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Department offered its first fat studies course in fall 2021. According to The Montclarion, the course was called “Fat Studies: Race, Class, Gender, Queerness.” 

Media Relations Director Andrew Mees told Campus Reform that the course was a “special topics course” and there are “no plans to offer it moving forward.”

“Like all courses offered at Montclair State University, it furthered the institution’s commitment to creating an inclusive, supportive community where students can learn about the diverse, multicultural world that surrounds them,” Mees said.

The Office of Social Justice and Diversity also recently created a “Fearless And Big” (F.A.B) discussion group that was offered during the 2022 spring semester.

Campus Reform has reached out to the universities mentioned in this article, it will be updated accordingly.