A cultural history of obesity
‘Sander Gilman makes a nuanced and richly documented argument about the historical, cultural, and scientific contingency of concepts such as “fat”, “obesity”, and “health”. This book is a powerful demonstration of how moralistic prejudices influence public health discourse, and our ideas of what constitutes diseuses and epidemics. It is an invaluable contribution to the contemparary interdisciplinary critique of our moral panic over fat.’
Paul Campos, University of Colorado
‘In Fat Sander Gilman artfully skewers the cultural tropes and mythe surraunding one of the leading moral panics of our time – America’s so-called obesity “epidemic”. Gilman unearths the hidden agendas and historical precedents that allow for our growing weight to be labeled as a deadly disease. Through his wit and erudition, Fat is an invaluable perspective for anyone wanting a more nuanced perspective about health, culture, and society in America.’
Eric Oliver, University of Chicago, author of Fat Politics : the real story behind America’s obesity epidemic
The modem world is faced with a terrifying new ‘diseuse, that of obesity’. As people get faner, we have corne to see excess weight as unhealthy, morally repugnant and socially damaging. Fat has long been a national problem and each age, culture, and tradition has defined a point beyond which excess weight is unacceptable, ugly, or corrupting.
This fascinating new book by Sander Gilman looks at the interweaving of factand fiction relating to obesity, tracing public cancem from the mid-nineteenth century to the modem day. lt looks critically at the source of our anxieties, covering issues such as childhood obesity, the production of food, mediacoverage of the subject, and the emergence of obesity in modem China. Written as a cultural history, the book is particularly concemed with the cultural meanings that have been attached to obesity over time and explores the implications of these meanings far wider society. The history of these debates is the history of fat in culture, from nineteenth-century opera to our global dieting obsession. Fat : A Cultural History of Obesity is a vivid and absorbing cultural guide to one of the most important topics in modem sociely.
Sander L. Gilman is Distinguished Professor of the Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University