It’s About Damn Time: Loving and Learning from the Fat Frame



For many K-13 students, body weight and body size  can be a complicated and sometimes multifaceted issue. The issue is further nuanced when considering there are few spaces in schools for learning to critically analyze messages they receive about their bodies, fat, and body inclusivity. When sanctuary spaces (Smith, 2022) are not created, educational institutions become reproducers of social inequities.

This special issue seeks to honor, affirm, and most importantly love the fat body and the lived realities of fat individuals by supporting teachers in supporting students’ abilities to critically analyze messages about body size including those that emphasize and even at times reward fat shaming (Friedman et al., 2019; Patterson-Faye, 2016; Taylor & Oluo, 2021). The goal of this special issue is to build on this literature by centering critical analyses of the complex relationships of fatness in K-12 and higher educational spaces; especially how these relationships are mediated by, race, class, disability, age, sexualities, gender identity, and other forms of social identities. 

It is our goal that this issue will illuminate how teaching in such a fat liberative manner allows students to see past basic survival to becoming responsible and informed critical advocates for social change. We seek to: 

  • Provide humanizing and robust accounts of the fat frame; 

  • Critique oppressive curricula that limit self-actualization around fat phobia; 

  • Analyze intersections of fatness, race, genders, sexualities, and ability; 

  • Engage students and educators in critically examining fat ideology; 

  • Provide sanctuary or truth spaces for fat individuals


This special issue will seek contributions that include:  

  1. the examination of fat inclusive resources and pedagogies which can be utilized to build fat relevant and sustaining policies,  
  2. pedagogies, and curricula that can build content knowledge and critical consciousness among English/language arts students,  
  3. examinations of children’s and young adult literature featuring body size issues and examples of how they are used to afford students the opportunity to critique oppressive constructs and co-construct new understandings, and  
  4. experiential accounts of marginalization and exclusivity.  

In sum, the issue will center the following questions: How can school curricula center fat love and acceptance?  How can we begin to decolonize the fat frame? What can the experiential knowledge of fat individuals teach us about marginalization and exclusivity in schools?  How are we teaching students to thrive in schools by utilizing  literacy practices which illuminate the strength and resilience of the fat frame (Kendal, 2021; Smith, 2022; Strings, 2019). 

Guest Editors:

Dywanna Smith
Claflin University
[email protected] 

Jarvais Jackson
Georgia Southern University 
[email protected]

Submission Information: 

Submissions are made using ScholarOne Manuscripts. Registration and access are available here.

Author guidelines must be strictly followed. Please go to the journal homepage and select the Author Guidelines tab.

Authors should select (from the drop-down menu) the special issue title at the appropriate step in the submission process, i.e. in response to ““School-University Partnerships”.  

Submitted articles must not have been previously published, nor should they be under consideration for publication anywhere else, while under review for this journal. 

Click Here to Submit!

Key Dates: 

Open: 20th of May, 2023

Close: 1st of October, 2023


Friedman, M., Rice, C., & Rinaldi, J. (2019). Thickening Fat: Fat Bodies, Intersectionality, and Social Justice (1st ed.). Routledge. 

Kendall, M. (2021). Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot. Penguin Books. 

Patterson-Faye, C. J. (2016). ‘I like the way you move’: Theorizing fat, black and sexy. Sexualities, 19(8), 926–944. 

Smith, D. (2022). Transformational Sanctuaries in the Middle Level ELA Classroom (NCTE-Routledge Research Series) (1st ed.). Routledge. 

Strings, S. (2019). Fearing the Black Body: The Racial Origins of Fat Phobia (First edition.). NYU Press. 

Taylor, S. R., & Oluo, I. (2021). The Body Is Not an Apology, Second Edition: The Power of Radical Self-Love (2nd ed.). Berrett-Koehler Publishers.