Populate the side area with widgets, images, navigation links and whatever else comes to your mind.
18 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
(+44) 871.075.0336
Follow us

Follow Us Sophia, Belgisch Netwerk voor Genderstudies

+32 (0)2 229 38 69

Middaglijnstraat 10, 1210 Brussels

Audio – 2015 – Let’s Talk About Fat. Raising Critical Questions and Debunking Cultural Myths (Noortje van Amsterdam / Unruly Bodies)

Audio – 2015 – Let’s Talk About Fat. Raising Critical Questions and Debunking Cultural Myths (Noortje van Amsterdam / Unruly Bodies)

Hieronder vind je de powerpoint en audio-opname van de keynote lezing gegeven door Noortje van Amsterdam op Sophia’s colloquium Unruly Bodies. Gender \ Normen \ Verzet (29 oktober 2015 in KVS, Brussel).

Below, you will find the slides and podcast of Noortje van Amsterdam’s keynote lecture during the Sophia conference Unruly Bodies. Gender \ Norms \ Resistance (29 October 2015, at KVS, Brussels).

Let’s Talk About Fat. Raising Critical Questions and Debunking Cultural Myths – Noortje Van Amsterdam


Fatness, overweight and obesity have been the subject of debate for more than a decade in many affluent societies. Typical of these discussions in the media and by government officials is the increased focus on overweight and obesity as a threat to the physical, mental and economic well-being of citizens and nations. This has led to a widely held view that fatness is a medical problem and its abundance constitutesa public health crisis. In this keynote Noortje Van Amsterdam presents a feminist poststructuralist analysis of fatness and fat embodiment. Van Amsterdam deconstructs dominant meaning making around the unruly fat body and situates dominant discursive practices about fatness in their political context. She shows how fatness isdemonized through the dominant discourse of healthism and how this has a negative effect on many individuals. Van Amsterdam argues that body size needs to be taken seriously in (feminist) scholarly practices as an axis of signification, similar to gender, race and social class, that (co)produces inequalities between those who possess a normative (slender) body and those who do not. She illustrates the complexity of lived experiences produced by dominant views about fat bodies through stories about anti-fat attitudes and the embodiment of fat.


Noortje van Amsterdam is Assistant Professor in Organization Studies at Utrecht School of Governance in the Netherlands. She is also affiliated with the Simone de Beauvoir Institute of Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. Her research focuses on the social constructions and performances of bodies and health. Informed by constructivist, feminist post-structuralist and post-colonial theories, Noortje aims to explore the ideological power structures that underlie inequalities based on embodied signifiers such as gender, dis/ability, age, sexuality and race/ethnicity. Noortje combines her critical theoretical viewpoint and conventional qualitative methodologies with creative methodologies, such as CAP ethnographies, visual methods and autoethnograpic writing, to shed light on the everyday experiences of people with (their) bodies and health. She has explored the constructions and performances of bodies and health in diverse settings such as physical education, school, sport, dance, academia and professional organizations. Themes Noortje addresses in her research include: overweight and obesity, dis/ability, motherhood, and young people’s subjectivities. The interdisciplinary nature of her research brings together medical anthropology, gender studies, sport sociology, fat studies, education, cultural studies and organization studies.