Students learn to put together 'plus sized outfit' in 'Intro to Fat Studies': EXCLUSIVE COURSE DOCS

The University of New Mexico course teaches students that 'antifatness' is another form of oppression.

Students will also learn about 'fat liberationist movements and activism.'

The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque is currently offering an introductory course on “fat studies” this semester in which students will put together a “plus sized outfit” and consider “antifatness” as another form of oppression.

“This course will consider the structural forces that construct fatness as problematic—as diseased, gross, dirty, lazy, gluttonous, and other negative characteristics—thereby reinforcing antifatness,” the course syllabus states, which Campus Reform acquired through a public records request.

[RELATED: Fat studies is the field that teaches students to view obesity as ‘oppression’]

The course is also listed on the Department of Sociology and Criminology’s list of courses for the spring 2024 semester.

Students who take the class will study how “antifatness” intersects with “other forms of oppression,” such as colonialism and capitalism. 

Students will also learn about “fat liberationist movements and activism.”

Assignments for the course seek to demonstrate the difficulty fat people face when trying to do things other people think of as normal. 

One project called the “Fatshion Assignment” has students put together two outfits, one regular-sized and another plus-sized. Students are asked to write a report, answer questions about how easy it was to find one outfit versus another, and consider whether there was a price difference.

Another required project has students consider public spaces from the perspective of fatness. “If you yourself live in a fat body, try to think about not only how accessible the space is for you, but how accessible it may be for a fat person that is larger than you, a fat person that has less mobility than you do,” the syllabus says.

[RELATED: Cornell rebrands ‘fatness’ course after controversy]

Cassidy Boe, the PhD student instructor for the course, says in the syllabus that she doesn’t grade based on participation because doing so is “ableist.” 

“You may notice that I am not grading you on participation or attendance,” she writes in the course document. “I have chosen not to grade your participation or attendance because I believe that doing so is ableist.” 

She continues to say that “all grading is ableist,” but “grading on participation or attendance is especially so in my opinion and is something that I can reasonably avoid doing within the constraints and expectations that the university places on me as an instructor.”

Campus Reform contacted Boe for comment. This story will be updated accordingly.