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‘Fat Studies’ journal seeks views outside ‘Anglo-American contexts’

‘The field of fat studies originates in and is to this day dominated by Anglo-American academia’

“Fat studies” might be too “Anglo-American,” according to editors at an academic journal that studies “fatness.”

The editors of Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society, said they want to see different viewpoints in a call for papers for an issue to come out in October 2025. The journal previously fell for a hoax “grievance studies” paper about “fat bodybuilding.”

“Theory and conceptual explorations that have been developed in Anglo-American contexts run the risk of being understood as universal rather than national/regional,” the editors wrote. “This forces e.g. Europe-based scholarship to translate the field into their specific contexts.”

Editor-in-Chief Carla Pfeffer did not respond to two emailed requests for comment sent in the past month that asked for more information on how to spread fat studies and what the lack of papers meant.

She is a sociologist at Michigan State University and also studies LGBT issues.

Her research interests include “chest-binding practices among transgender and non-binary populations” and other LGBT health topics, according to her personal website.

Lene Christiansen, a Denmark-based editor for this “special issue,” also did not respond to requests for comment.

Academics wishing to be published in this special edition have some topics to choose from.

They include: “The intersections of fatness and other marginalized positionalities in European contexts,” “The dialectic between Anglo-American fat studies and European scholarship,” and “Fat activism across Europe,” according to the journal.

The field of “fat studies” has drawn criticism from social commentator Helen Pluckrose.

Pluckrose, who helped lead the “grievance studies” hoax to expose the low publishing standards among some academic fields, said “fat studies” is based in “radical feminism.”

Pluckrose, and her co-conspirators James Lindsay and Peter Boghossian, even had a paper published in Fat Studies.

She wrote in The Critic in 2019, criticizing the field:

Although it seems incredible that any activism or scholarship on behalf of the overweight, obese and morbidly obese — those in imminent danger of death — would actively work to prevent people from accessing scientific research to inform their decisions about their diet and weight, this is exactly what is happening. This was inevitable as the scholarship is rooted in a type of postmodern theory which is explicitly anti-science.

The ideas of fat studies can be dangerous, Pluckrose said, by minimizing the harms of being overweight.

“There is a genuine need for activism and advocacy for the obese because obesity is an extremely dangerous health condition,” she wrote in The Critic. “Even when we know this, it can be difficult to take control of it for all kinds of reasons, many of them psychological.”

“Nevertheless, we recognise eating disorders which cause people to become dangerously underweight as a psychological problem requiring treatment; we should be able to address beliefs and behaviours leading to becoming dangerously overweight in the same way.”

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IMAGE: Towfiqu Barbhuiya

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About the Author
College Fix contributor William Hurley is a student at Hope College where he studies political science and theology. He is active in many clubs including Hope Republicans, Hope Catholics, and Students Cherishing Life. He has written for the Hope College student newspaper, The Anchor.