The obesity epidemic that is said to plague nations around the world, including Canada, is not solely a medical condition to be managed. In Canada, the discourse on obesity emerged during a time of social upheaval in the postwar period. Contours of the Nation is the first book which historically explores obesity in Canada from a critical perspective. Deborah McPhail demonstrates how obesity as a problem was affixed to particular populations in order to separate true Canadians from others. She reveals how the articulation of obesity contributed to the Canadian colonial project in the North; where Indigenous peoples were viewed as modern Canadians due to their obesity, thereby negating any special claims to northern lands. Contours of the Nation successfully demonstrates how histories can trace the actual materialization of bodies through relations of power, particularly those pertaining to race, gender, and nation.
Deborah McPhail is an assistant professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences in the Max Rady College of Medicine at the University of Manitoba
Introduction Chapter 1: "This is the Face of Obesity": Race, Class, Gender, and the Feminization of Fat Chapter 2: The "Kitchen Demon" and the "Tubby Hubby": Reproductive labour and the nuclear family in obesity discourse Chapter 3: "Of Missiles and Muscles": Fitness, Masculinity, and Obesity during the Cold War Chapter 4: "The White Man's Burden"? Obesity and Colonialism in the Developing North Conclusion: Asking Different Questions Bibliography