Campus am Neuen Palais
Am Neuen Palais 10
Building 1, Room 0.15
by appointment only
My project is focused on the way ideas around embodiment are constructed and enforced across the western world. From the neoliberal initiatives that classify fatness as a failure to responsibly manage our body machines, to the anti black roots of fatphobia, to the particular stress the beauty industry places upon women’s bodies, fatness sits at the intersection of multiple identities, a fact that is completely ignored in current medicalised discussions about ‘obesity’.
I examine popular culture as a site in which different socio-culturally embodied experiences of fatness are crafted, negotiated and tinkered with. Rather than considering the West as a homogeneous cultural site, I will complicate its topography by comparing and contrasting two different cases, both of which are considered part of the West – but with profoundly different histories: the United States and Greece. While the US is considered the center of Western production, Greece has a more complicated positionality. On one hand, a glorious past, cradle of democracy and precursor to the Enlightenment. On the other, a shabby present, financially mismanaged and with an ambiguous cultural connection to the East given its four centuries under Ottoman occupation. While one could easily assign the United States as the influencer and Greece as the receiver, under Minor Cosmopolitanisms one can examine and trace how ancient Greece has influenced current body politics in the USA, and how a US-centric understanding of ancient Greece has influenced the way modern Greeks view themselves. The purpose of my research is thus two fold – one, to employ the concept of fatness as a tool in order to critically examine the modern Greek national identity; and two, to use modern Greek culture in order to de-stabilize the idea that the experience and perception of fatness is uniform across the perceived ‘West’.
Sofia Apostolidou studied Philology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki and Cultural Analysis at the University of Amsterdam. She is a founding member of the activist group the Political Fatties, with whom she has published the collection “Fatties: Aspects of Fatness as a Political Identity”, and organised conferences, workshops and performances in Athens, Thessaloniki, Berlin, and Amsterdam. In 2019 she published the article “Weighing Posthumanism: Fatness and Contested Humanity” (co-authored with Dr. Jules Sturm) in the Journal of Social Inclusion, and her chapter on fatness, modernity and national Greek identity is included in the 2021 International Fat Studies Handbook.
Fatties: Aspects of Fatness as a Political Identity. Queer Ink/Goethe Institute, Athens, 2017. (Chief Editor)[Greek/English]
Weighing Posthumanism: Fatness and Contested Humanity.” Social Inclusion, vol. 4, no. 4, 2016, p. 150., doi:10.17645/si.v4i4.705 (co-authored with Dr. Jules Sturm)