CRASSH and Newnham College in Cambridge are organising a conference on the theme ‘Bodies of Evidence: Fat Across Disciplines’ 19-20 September 2007.

The current fascination with obesity poses many interesting problems. Not least of which remains a question of definition: What is obesity? The obese body is on the one hand regarded to be somewhat self-evident and yet also evokes an increasingly complex range of explanations and explorations. This conference seeks to bring together academics from a broad range of disciplines to examine the obese body as a case study of both the contested nature of evidence and as a site for the construction of interdisciplinary evidence and problem-solving. It will seek to highlight the different ways of thinking about, researching and ‘doing’ obesity and will ask what is it about the obese body that makes it a particularly novel and problematic site for the construction of evidence.

Wish they had raised the issue of the public display of obesity in museums in addition to “thinking about, researching and ‘doing’ obesity”, because public display is an important form of evidence in the public sphere. In other words, this is an excellent topic for a (medical) museum exhibition! Who will come first ?

Details (including booking forms) are available at www.crassh.cam.ac.uk/events/2006-7/obesity.html

Added 14 September: The Battle of Ideas 2007 festival in London 27-28 October has a session on ‘Diet Nation: The obesity debate’ occasioned by Patrick Basham and John Luik’s recent book Diet Nation: Exposing the Obesity Crusade (2006).

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