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.
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