CFP: Fat Bodies in the Early Modern World

December 6 2021

Image of CFP: Fat Bodies in the Early Modern World

Picture: @hrfletcher_

Posted by Adam Busiakiewicz:

Here's an interesting summer conference which is taking shape for Summer 2022. A group of scholars from the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester and the Goethe-Universität, Frankfurt, are putting together a conference on Fat Bodies in the Early Modern World. A call for papers has been published with lots of possibilities for art historians too it seems.

According to the CFP:

In the emerging field of Fat Studies, historical overviews about the perception and  representation of fat and dieting tend to focus on the 19th and 21st centuries. An early exception was Elena Levy-Navarro’s The Culture of Obesity in Early and Late  Modernity (2008) which sought to situate the beginnings of ‘modern’ fat hatred in the early modern period. Inspired by Mikhail Bakthin and Norbert Elias, Levy-Navarro  argued that the premodern period was a ‘time before fat’, as she suggested it was only with the development of a ‘civilized elite’ that the individualized, self-contained body  could be ‘violated by fat flesh’.

More recent studies, however, such as Georges Vigarello’s Les  métamorphoses du gras. Histoire de l’obésité du Moyen Âge au  XXe siècle (2010) or Christopher E. Forth’s Fat. A Cultural  History of the Stuff of life (2019) have demonstrated that the slim silhouette could already be an ideal for European elites in the Medieval period and that the fat body could be viewed as socially  inferior from Roman Antiquity onwards. Moreover, scholars such as Michael Stolberg and Maria-Carla Gadebusch Bondio, have shown how physicians’ advice manuals containing instructions on how to avoid fatness were printed as early as the 1480s, and that the treatment of obesity became part of the university medical curriculum in the later sixteenth century.

Abstracts should be submitted by 15th January 2022.

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