FAT: The F-Word and the Public Body

This seminar investigates discourses and politics around the fat body from a performance studies perspective. How does this “f-word” discipline and regulate bodies in /as public? How do dancers reveal these politics with special clarity? How might fat be a liberating counterperformance? We will examine the changing history, aesthetics, politics, and meanings of fatness using dance, performance, and media texts as key case studies. Intersectional dimensions of the fat body are central to the course. Emphasis primarily on the US. Assignments include written work and group performances. No dance experience necessary.

Sample reading list:
Eric Oliver, Fat Politics
Anne Cheng, Second Skin: Josephine Baker & the Modern Surface
Susan Greenhalgh, Fat Talk Nation
Esther Rothblum and Sondra Solovay, The Fat Studies Reader
Cat Pause, et. al., Queering Fat Embodiment
Amy Erdman Farrell, Fat Shame

Reading/Writing assignments:
Three short papers, group performance, seminar paper, and class participation. Short papers: an ethnography of the normative Princeton body, a close reading of the ways fat works in a specific example, and a research-informed creative point of view assignment. Group performance investigates relationship between fat and performative elements of public life. Seminar paper uses performance studies methods to analyze an artifact or example.

Prerequisites and Restrictions:
No prior dance experience is necessary.




Thursdays, 1:30 - 4:20 pm


Judith Hamera