In 1978 Susie Orbach declared fat a feminist issue. This slim volume of writing put forward a radical new understanding of feminine embodiment and the gendered psychology of eating. Taking place almost four decades later, this one-day conference will revisit the terrain explored by Orbach and open out new themes of analysis by examining contemporary feminist perspectives on food. Of particular concern are the ways in which food cultures intersect with or map onto broader social rationalities and political programmatics. These issues have been productively pursued in recent analyses of the shift in dieting discourse from a concern with weight to a preoccupation with health (Cairns & Johnston, 2015), alongside the turn to interiority as part of a more general revaluation of domesticity (Dejmanee, 2015). Yet there remains further work to be done here, particularly in light of changing patterns in the cultural landscape of postfeminism (Gill, 2016; McRobbie, 2015).

This event will bring together scholars from across a range of disciplinary locations — sociology, psychology, media and cultural studies, geography and social policy – to address questions such as: What does the continued stigmatisation of fatness and the heightened stylisation of fitness suggest about contemporary formations of femininity? How do new kinds of cultural intermediaries feed existing moral economies of consumer-citizenship? How can we understand the ubiquity of food-related content on social media? What does it mean for food to be so heavily mediated, and what role does media play in stimulating, curtailing, or managing appetites? How can feminist scholarship resist the tendency to moralise dietary practices while addressing inequalities and violences? How do we complicate logics of personal responsibility even as we strive for environmental sustainability? What might a feminist politics of food look like, and what kinds of tools and resources are needed for this?

We are pleased to confirm that Susie Orbach will open the conference with a keynote address. A round table featuring several leading feminist scholars will conclude the day’s discussions (full list of speakers to be confirmed).

Papers are invited on themes including but not limited to:

– Food work

– Aesthetic labour and beauty politics

– Corporeality and digital culture

– Healthism and the medicalisation of everyday life

– Consumption and entrepreneurship

– Bodies of knowledge and knowledge politics

– Dietary regimes and exceptional foodstuffs: ‘5: 2’, ‘clean’, ‘paleo’, ‘superfoods’

– Metrics, quantification, algorithms, apps

– ‘Fitness’ as cultural idiom

– Narcissism and sexual politics

– The economics and politics of austerity

– Hunger

Abstracts of 250 words should be sent to:

Please also include a short biographical note (50-100 words) with details of main research interests and current academic affiliation, if any.

Deadline for submissions: 14 April 2017