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Viewed as both unhealthy and unattractive, fat people are widely represented in popular culture and in interpersonal interactions as revolting -- as agents of abhorrence and disgust. Yet if we think about "revolting" in a different way, Kathleen LeBesco argues, we can recognize fatness as not simply an aesthetic state or a medical condition, but a political one. If we think of revolting in terms of overthrowing authority, rebelling, protesting, and rejecting, then corpulence carries a whole new weight as a subversive cultural practice that calls into question received notions about health, beauty, and nature.

Revolting Bodies examines a number of sites of struggle over the cultural meaning of fatness. The book is grounded in scholarship on identity politics, the social construction of beauty, and the subversion of hegemonic medical ideas about the dangers of fatness. It explains how the redefinition of fat identities has been undertaken by people who challenge conventional understandings of nature, health, and beauty and, in so doing, alter their individual and collective relationships to power.

LeBesco explores how the bearer of a fat body is marked as a failed citizen, inasmuch as her powers as a worker, shopper, and sexually "desirable" subject are called into question. At the same time, she highlights fat fashion, relations among fat, queer, and disability politics and activism, and online communities as opportunities for transforming these pejorative stereotypes of fatness. Her discussion of the long-term ramifications of denying bodily agency -- in effect, letting biological determinism run rampant -- has implications not only for our understanding of fatness but also for future political practice.

Contributors explore the relationship between food and
the production of ideology.

Edible Ideologies argues that
representations of food—in literature and popular fiction, cookbooks and travel
guides, war propaganda, women’s magazines, television and print
advertisements—are not just about nourishment or pleasure. Contributors explore
how these various modes of representation, reflecting prevailing attitudes and
assumptions about food and food practices, function instead to circulate and
transgress dominant cultural ideologies. Addressing questions concerning whose
interests are served by a particular food practice or habit and what political
ends are fulfilled by the historical changes that lead from one practice to
another in Western culture, the essays offer a rich historical narrative that
moves from the construction of the nineteenth-century English gentleman to the
creation of two of today’s iconic figures in food culture, Julia Child and
Martha Stewart. Along the way, readers will encounter World War I propaganda,
holocaust and Sephardic cookbooks, the Rosenbergs, German tour guides, fast food
advertising, food packaging, and chocolate, and will find food for thought on
the meanings of everything from camembert to Velveeta, from salads to burgers,
and from tikka masala to Campbell’s soup.

“The contributions to
Edible Ideologies show a richness of concrete argument … Vividly and
vibrantly, the essays … reveal multitudes of meaning.” —
Gastronomica

“…this collection moves beyond the scope of ‘food
studies’ to be of interest to readers in literature, gender studies, sociology,
advertising history, and related disciplines.” — CHOICE

“This is a
solid intervention in contemporary debates about food and representation in the
Anglo-American world. The essays are historically rich, theoretically engaging,
and unpredictable enough to be immensely readable. Who knew that a box of Jell-O
would do so much harm to Ethel Rosenberg’s case?!” — Krishnendu Ray, author of
The Migrant’s Table: Meals and Memories in Bengali-American
Households

Contributors include Nathan Abrams, Annette Cozzi, Marie
I. Drews, Charlene Elliott, Lynne Fallwell, Celia M. Kingsbury, Kathleen
LeBesco, Eric Mason, Peter Naccarato, Kathleen Banks Nutter, and Jean P.
Retzinger.
The influence of food has grown rapidly as it has become more and more intertwined with popular culture in recent decades. The Bloomsbury Handbook of Food and Popular Culture offers an authoritative, comprehensive overview of and introduction to this growing field of research. Bringing together over 20 original essays from leading experts, including Amy Bentley, Deborah Lupton, Fabio Parasecoli, and Isabelle de Solier, its impressive breadth and depth serves to define the field of food and popular culture.

Divided into four parts, the book covers:
- Media and Communication; including film, television, print media, the Internet, and emerging media
- Material Cultures of Eating; including eating across the lifespan, home cooking, food retail, restaurants, and street food
- Aesthetics of Food; including urban landscapes, museums, visual and performance arts
- Socio-Political Considerations; including popular discourses around food science, waste, nutrition, ethical eating, and food advocacy

Each chapter outlines key theories and existing areas of research whilst providing historical context and considering possible future developments. The Editors' Introduction by Kathleen LeBesco and Peter Naccarato, ensures cohesion and accessibility throughout.

A truly interdisciplinary, ground-breaking resource, this book makes an invaluable contribution to the study of food and popular culture. It will be an essential reference work for students, researchers and scholars in food studies, film and media studies, communication studies, sociology, cultural studies, and American studies.
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