Section: Overview
Overview
Key publications
Research funding
Supervising & teaching
Career

Key details

Areas of expertise

  • Fat studies
  • Weight stigma
  • Autoethnography
  • Creative writing
  • Health at every size

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

About Jennifer Lee

In addition to her role as Senior Lecturer in the College of Arts and Education, Jennifer is a research fellow with the Institute for Health and Sport. She researches and publishes in the interdisciplinary field of Fat Studies, where cultural studies, gender studies, education, health and medicine, nutrition, psychology, science, the arts, and creative writing intersect. ‘The Obesity Epidemic’ has attracted media attention, research funding, medical interventions and public health messages. Yet in all of these messages there is often a key missing voice. In Fat Studies, there is more work to do to establish that the ‘fat’ voice is important. Cultural studies and creative approaches to the discourse of ‘The Obesity Epidemic’ differ to the dominant discourse in the health and science disciplines, which is also the dominant discourse in the media. The neoliberal Western discourse of blame, and individual responsibility for health and obesity is problematic, and it is within the field of Fat Studies that critique of these dominant discourses happens.

Within the Fat Studies discipline, Jennifer also questions problems relating to class and race, by considering the infrastructure such as the availability of nutritious food at a reasonable price in remote, indigenous and non-Western communities, the availability of sporting facilities, and funding for youth health in outer suburbs. These are issues that are also relevant to the west of Melbourne and lower socio-economic groups that Victoria University academics often come into contact with through their teaching and research.

By writing across several fat-related areas, Jennifer's research has the potential to create new knowledge within the gaps in the discipline. Because Fat Studies is a developing interdisciplinary field, there is a range of unexplored areas. She has published on the discrimination of fat women in pregnancy and motherhood (2018, 2019); the barriers to health for fat women (2016); fat, health and activism (2015), fat and diabetes (2012), fat and queer identities (2014, 2016), fat sexuality (2015, 2017), fat discrimination (2012), and fat and sport (2013).

As a result of her publications, and conference presentations in Europe, the USA, New Zealand, South Africa and Australia, Jennifer has also spoken about her research on television programmes such as SBS ‘Insight’, ABC ‘You can’t ask that’, and ABC’s special ‘obesity’ episode of ‘The Drum’.

Qualifications

  • PhD, Deakin University, Australia, 2005
  • GradCertUniversityTeaching, University of Melbourne, Australia, 2006
  • BA (Hons), Deakin University, Australia, 1999

Key publications

Year Citation
2016 Lee, J. (160101). Hidden and forbidden: Alter egos, invisibility cloaks and psychic fat suits (pp. 101-112).

doi: 10.4324/9781315581996

2014 LEE, J. (141125). All the Way from (B)lame to (A)cceptance: Diabetes, Health and Fat Activism In Chastain, R. (Ed.) (1) (pp. 63-73). Santa Barbara, California: Praeger.
2014 Lee, J. (140501). Flaunting fat: Sex with the lights on (pp. 89-96).

Year Citation
2020 Lee, J. (200102). You will face discrimination : Fatness, motherhood, and the medical profession. Fat Studies, 9(1), (1-16).

doi: 10.1080/21604851.2019.1595289

2017 Lee. (170101). Ripping Off the Mask: A Queer, Kinky, Fat Masquerade. QED: A Journal in GLBTQ Worldmaking, 4(1), (114-114).

doi: 10.14321/qed.4.1.0114

2016 Lee, J. A., & Pause, C. J. (160101). Stigma in practice: Barriers to health for fat women. Frontiers in Psychology, 7(DEC),

doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.02063

2013 Lee, J. (130429). Beyond binary genders: Reviewing the medical management of intersex infants. International Journal of the Humanities, 9(12), (133-143).
2012 Lee, J. (121201). A big fat fight. Overland,(207), (11-17).
2012 Lee, J. (120301). Not Just a Type: Diabetes, Fat and Fear. Somatechnics, 2(1), (80-83).

doi: 10.3366/soma.2012.0041

2012 Lee, J. (120101). A big fat fight: the case for fat activism. Overland,(207), (11-17).

Research funding for the past 5 years

Funding details for this researcher are currently unavailable.

Acknowledgements

Many thanks to the following organisations for their support and essential contributions to my research:

Supervision of research students at VU

Available to supervise research students

Available for media queries

Currently supervised research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
1 Masters by Research Withdrawn supervisor
1 PhD Withdrawn - Principal supervisor
1 PhD Associate supervisor

Currently supervised research students at VU

Students & level Role
Masters by Research (1) Withdrawn supervisor
PhD (1) Withdrawn - Principal supervisor
PhD (1) Associate supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

No. of students Study level Role
1 PhD Associate supervisor
2 PhD Principal supervisor

Completed supervision of research students at VU

Students & level Role
PhD (1) Associate supervisor
PhD (2) Principal supervisor

Teaching activities & experience

Jennifer is the Creative Writing coordinator at VU, and is the only ongoing (permanent) Creative Writing Lecturer in the College of Arts and Education. She began teaching Creative Writing at VU in 2003, in areas such as fiction, memoir, narrative non-fiction and genre fiction, and she also teaches the literary studies unit ACL2007 Romance and Realism.

She has supervised five PhD students to completion, and currently supervises three higher degree by research students. She has supervised on topics such as representations of 'fat' boys in young adult fiction; the creation of authentic indigenous characters; suppressed stories of women and mental health in Australia; the hidden nature of abortion in Australia; and variant gender, intersex and transgender characters.

Key academic roles

Dates Role Department / Organisation
Jan 2017 - Dec 2019
Research Fellowship
Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University
Jun 2017 - Dec 2019
Creative Writing Coordinator
Victoria University
Feb 2013 - Mar 2013
Visiting Research Fellow
Massey University, Human Development, Institute of Education
Nov 2016 - Dec 2016
Visiting Research Fellow
Centre for Contemporary Ideas, Dickinson College, Pennsylvania
Jan 2013 - Dec 2019
Referee (journal articles)
Creative Writing journal TEXT
Show more academic roles
Dates Role & Department/Organisation
Jan 2017 -
Dec 2019
Research Fellowship
Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University
Jun 2017 -
Dec 2019
Creative Writing Coordinator
Victoria University
Feb 2013 -
Mar 2013
Visiting Research Fellow
Massey University, Human Development, Institute of Education
Nov 2016 -
Dec 2016
Visiting Research Fellow
Centre for Contemporary Ideas, Dickinson College, Pennsylvania
Jan 2013 -
Dec 2019
Referee (journal articles)
Creative Writing journal TEXT
Show more academic roles

Key industry, community & government roles

Dates Role Department/Organisation
Sep 2019 - Dec 2019
HAES (Health at Every Size) Australia Advisory Board member
HAES (Health at Every Size) Australia
May 2018 - Dec 2019
Vice-president
Victoria University branch of the National Tertiary Education Union
Dates Role & Department/Organisation
Sep 2019 - Dec 2019
HAES (Health at Every Size) Australia Advisory Board member
HAES (Health at Every Size) Australia
May 2018 - Dec 2019
Vice-president
Victoria University branch of the National Tertiary Education Union

Awards

Year Award
2007

HarperCollins Literary Award for short memoir - HarperCollins Publisher & Verandah Literary Journal

Media appearances

01st March 2019

'The Drum' (ABC)

‘The Drum’, featured panelist, ‘Obesity’ special episode, ABC. Host: Ellen Fanning Panel: Dr Kathryn Williams, Professor Stephen Simpson, Jacqueline Moore and Dr Jenny Lee Guest: Alexandra Jones We’re told we’re in the grips of an ‘obesity epidemic’ with two in three Australian adults considered overweight or obese, in a special episode of The Drum the panel explore what’s missing from the conversation, fat shaming and environmental factors.

14th September 2016

You Can't Ask That: Fat episode (ABC)

‘You Can’t Ask That’, Fat episode, Season 1, Episode 7, ABC. This episode sets the record straight about what it's really like to be judged as fat, find out the answers to the questions Australians wanted to ask but were too embarrassed or afraid to ever ask in person.

28th May 2013

'Fat Fighters', Insight (SBS)

‘Fat Fighters’, Episode 15, front row guest, on Insight, SBS, Sydney, over 1.25 million viewers total. Jennifer Lee is part of a 'fat activist' movement, which claims that correlations between weight and health are exaggerated and unfairly shame fat people. 'You can't actually tell someone's lifestyle or health by looking at them,' she says. Jennifer says that after trying countless diets since a very young age, she is no longer trying to lose weight. Jennifer Lee is a lecturer at Victoria University.

06th October 2015

Question Time: ‘Our obesity epidemic’, The Wheeler Centre

Question Time: ‘Our obesity epidemic’, panellist, The Wheeler Centre. Summary: What are the health impacts of obesity – and how can it affect a person’s quality (and length) of life, employment, community participation? How does the fat acceptance movement relate to debates about public health, and how are myths about obesity perpetuated? During this hour of audience Q&A, host Madeleine Morris is joined by Heart Foundation CEO Mary Barry, Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation CEO Ange Barry, fat studies academic Jenny Lee and researcher Michael Gard for a discussion of Australia’s unfolding obesity epidemic.

18th February 2013

Aquaporko! The documentary

Interviewed for Aquaporko! The documentary, Kelli Jean Drinkwater, Australia. Reclaiming public space through the art of water dance, Aquaporko! is not only the name of the fat femme synchronized swim team that Kelli Jean co-founded in Sydney, Australia, it is also the title of the documentary film that it inspired. Aquaporko! is the story of the Melbourne chapter as they prepare for their first live performance. Aquaporko! won the audience award for Best Documentary at the 2013 Mardi Gras Film Festival. Produced by Kelli Jean Drinkwater who co-directed with Anna Helme this film has been in official selection at over 35 international film festivals including MardiGrasFilmFest, InsideOut Toronto, Frameline San Francisco, and MIX Copenhagen to name a few.