Princeton Course Combats ‘Fat Phobia’ Through Dance

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A course being offered at Princeton University this fall seeks to combat “fat phobia” through dance and performance art.

The course, which is entitled “FAT: The F-Word and the Public Body,” will be offered this fall at Princeton University by Professor Judith Hamera, a Professor of Dance at the Ivy League University. According to the course description, this fall’s class will investigate discourse surrounding overweight Americans. Most curiously, the course description ponders if being fat is a liberating counter-performance to the oppressive body standards established by Western society.

“This seminar investigates discourses and politics around the fat body from a performance studies perspective,” the course description reads. “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 counter performance?”

The description adds that “intersectional dimensions of the fat body are central to the course,” signaling that students will be tasked with analyzing how Americans might be additionally oppressed if they are both overweight and a member of a traditionally-marginalized group.

Students in the course will be asked to participate in a group dance performance that demonstrates the “relationship between fat and performative elements of public life.” Students are told that they don’t need a background in dance to enroll in the course.

According to a report from Campus Reform, the course will include readings from texts such as Fat Politics, a work which argues that “there is little proof that obesity causes so much disease and death or that losing weight is what makes people healthier.” The course dives into several works that consider weight-consciousness, or the notion that Americans take notice of those with overweight or obese body types, “another form of prejudice.”

The course has hit the maximum enrollment capacity of 15 students for the fall semester.


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