CO-SPONSORED EVENT | Savala Nolan: Why Fatphobia? Understanding the Roots and Uses of Anti-fat Bias

March 22, 2022 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Why Fatphobia? Understanding the Roots and Uses of Anti-fat Bias

Savala Nolan is the Executive Director at the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at Berkeley Law. Nolan is the author of Don’t Let It Get You Down: Essays on Race, Gender and the Body. She and her writing have been featured in The New York Times Book Review, Vogue, Harper’s Magazine, Time, NPR, Forbes and more. Nolan is a regular keynote speaker and panelist on social justice issues, including implicit bias, structural racism, understanding Whiteness, and the importance of social justice work for all lawyers.

Fatphobia (or anti-fat bias) is widespread and has deep roots in the United States–but it isn’t inevitable or innate. It is learned, and it is particular to specific times, places, and cultures. Why do some cultures regard fat bodies as positive or neutral while others regard fat bodies as problems to be avoided and solved? In this talk, we’ll explore a constellation of ideas that create and flow from fatphobia, from anti-black racism to patriarchy, from the BMI and the Health At Every Size rubric to core concepts of the fat liberations/body neutrality movements. We’ll consider the uses of fatphobia–what work it does in the culture–and consider what it might be like to have a world free from this learned and harmful bias.

Food Literacy for All is a community-academic partnership course based at the University of Michigan. Structured as an evening lecture series, Food Literacy for All features different guest speakers each week to address challenges and opportunities of diverse food systems. Food Literacy for All is free and open to the public.

The winter 2022 course begins on Tuesday evening, January 11, 2022. If you have questions, please contact [email protected] or find more information here: https://sites.lsa.umich.edu/sustainablefoodsystems/foodliteracyforall

Speaker schedule:

Mar 29    Alita Kelly, Jason Bang, Raphael Wright
“Small Grocer Panel: Supplying Kimchi and Collards during a Global Pandemic”

Apr 5    Anthony Hatch
“Metabolism Cages for New World Animals, Large and Small”

Apr 12 Fast Food for Thought
10 interdisciplinary U-M faculty members will give a series of fast-paced talks (5 min each) related to food and/or agriculture

Apr 19 Final Class


Food Literacy for All is hosted by the UM Sustainable Food Systems Initiative. The 2022 course is supported by the CEW+ Frances and Sydney Lewis Visiting Leaders Fund, the Residential College, the School of Public Health’s Department of Nutritional Sciences, the Taubman Institute, the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, the Department of American Culture, and the Department of Anthropology.