Many western countries are now facing an epidemic of obesity in all age, gender and socio-economic groups. The causes behind this disturbing phenomenon are diverse. How individuals in the society react to their own weight issues as well as to those who appear “overweight”, if not obese, runs the gauntlet from very positive to very negative. In our era of “political correctness” and the general acceptance of a wider range of personal choices, a neutral discussion of “fatness” seems impossible. As often is the case, the consensus of each society is that their particular situation is unique in human history. Well, then are we the first to grapple with the issue of fatness?
On Wednesday, November 1st Professor Emily K. Varto (Department of Classics, Dalhousie University) is going to dispel our cultural chauvinism on this topic in her lecture entitled "The Politics of Fatness in Archaic Greece".
Prof. Varto’s lecture will explore how modern narratives that imbue fatness with personal and communal ethical significance compare to ancient narratives of fatness, particularly in archaic Greece politics. Through examining art and poetry, she will explore how fatness was not exactly a marker of elite status, but was a metaphor of the abuse of status with economic, social, and moral consequences for family, community, and state. Although elitism was central to the significance of fatness in archaic Greece, so were ideas about uncontrollable appetite, lack of restraint, and communal harm familiar to us from modern narratives about obesity and socio-economic class.
The lecture will be held in the Library of the Institute starting at 7:30 PM. It will be live-streamed as well.
No matter what your body type may be you are most welcome to attend and learn more about the antithesis of arête in archaic Greece!