In recent years, the transitioning body has become the subject of increasing scholarly, medical, and political interest. This interdisciplinary collection seeks to enable productive dialogue about bodily transformation and its many potential meanings and possibilities.
Recent high-profile sex transitions, such as Bruce Jenner’s transformation into Caitlyn, have contributed to a proliferation of public and private debates about the boundaries of personal identity and the politics of gender. Sexual transition is only one possible type of bodily transformation, and bodies that change forms vex many binaries that underpin daily life such as male/female, gay/straight, well/unhealthy, able/disabled, beautiful/ugly, or adult/child. When transformations and transitions involve trauma, illness, injury, surgery or death, bodies can become culturally and socially illegible and enter the realm of abjection or even horror. Health humanities, a recent revision of medical humanities that includes patients and other nonphysicians, provides an interdisciplinary lens through which to read such bodily transformation and its representation in public culture. The authors of the essays in the present volume situate their work in this interdisciplinary space to enable productive dialogue about bodily transformation and its meanings in artistic, literary, visual, and health discourses. The essays in this volume discuss non-normative bodies from eighteenth-century France to present-day Iran and investigate narratives of cancer, aging, anorexia, AIDS, intersexuality, transsexuality, viruses, bacteria, and vaccinations.
This collection will be of key interest to faculty and students in women' studies/gender studies, cultural studies, studies of visual and material culture, medical/health humanities, disability studies, and rhetorics of science, health and medicine, and will be a useful resource for scholars across interdisciplinary fields of study.
Table of Contents
Bodies and Transitions in the Health Humanities
Lisa M. DeTora and Stephanie M. Hilger
Part I: Medical Models, Charts, and Institutional Narratives
4 Enlightened Wax Works:
Viewing the Anatomical Woman in the Viennese Josephinum
5 Epistemological Anxiety: The Case of Michel-Anne Drouart
Stephanie M. Hilger
6 Charting Intersex: Intersex Life-Writing and the Medical Record
7 Narrating Sex Change in Iran: Transsexuality and the Politics of Documentary Film
8 Isolated Bodies, Isolated Spaces: Anorexia and Bulimia in Women’s Autobiographical Narratives
Part II: Invasive Influences and Corporeal Integrity
9Unseen Enemies: Neisseria, Desire, and Bodily Discourse
Lisa M. DeTora
10The Human Papillomavirus Vaccination:
Gendering the Rhetorics of Immunization in Public Health Discourses
Jennifer A. Malkowski
11 Bacteriology and Modernity:
Phenomenology, Bio-Politics, Ontology
Jens Lohfert Jørgensen
12 Being-in-Alien: The Trinity of Bodies in Prometheus (2012) and Alien: Covenant (2017)
Adnan Mahmutović and Denise Ask Nunes
Part III: Aging, Decline, and Death
13 Embodied Transitions in Michel de Montaigne
Nora Martin Peterson and Peter Martin
14 Witnessing Illness: Phenomenology of Photographic Self Portraiture
15 Disjunction and Relationality in Terminal Illness Writing
Representation as a Lens:
Teaching and Researching in the Health Humanities
Stephanie Hilger is Professor of Comparative Literature and German at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is the author of Women Write Back (2009) and Gender and Genre (2015). She is also the (co)-editor of New Directions in Literature and Medicine Studies (2017) and The Early History of Embodied Cognition (2015).
Lisa M. DeTora is Associate Professor of Writing Studies and Rhetoric and Director of STEM Writing at Hofstra University. She has published widely on scientific and medical affairs and the medical humanities. In addition, she is the editor of Heroes of Film, Comics, and American Culture (2009) and Regulatory Writing: An Overview (2017).