Body and Nation interrogates the connections among the body, the nation, and the world in twentieth-century U.S. history. The idea that bodies and bodily characteristics are heavily freighted with values that are often linked to political and social spheres remains underdeveloped in the histories of America's relations with the rest of the world. Attentive to diverse state and nonstate actors, the contributors provide historically grounded insights into the transnational dimensions of biopolitics. Their subjects range from the regulation of prostitution in the Philippines by the U.S. Army to Cold War ideals of American feminine beauty, and from "body counts" as metrics of military success to cultural representations of Mexican migrants in the United States as public health threats. By considering bodies as complex, fluctuating, and interrelated sites of meaning, the contributors to this collection offer new insights into the workings of both soft and hard power.
Contributors. Frank Costigliola, Janet M. Davis, Shanon Fitzpatrick, Paul A. Kramer, Shirley Jennifer Lim, Mary Ting Yi Lui, Natalia Molina, Brenda Gayle Plummer, Emily S. Rosenberg, Kristina Shull, Annessa C. Stagner, Marilyn B. Young
"This unusually synthetic and well-conceived volume covers historical and contemporary situations in which the bodies of civilians, combatants, and those defined as outsiders are managed, mobilized, and politically tethered to broad nationalist and imperial projects 'at home' and 'abroad.' In attending to the details of bodily care and coercion, the contributors ask why, how, and when bodies matter, demonstrating the blur between technologies of war and ever more sophisticated forms of peacetime surveillance. Taken together, their essays show that we need to know more about whose bodies count in the changing landscape of national security and imperial governance and in the embattled space between 'care' and 'control.'"
Ann Laura Stoler, editor of
Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination
"This splendid collection will engage both scholars of American foreign policy and American studies. The essays are lively, pertinent, and very smart. They are a pleasure to read."
Daniel Walkowitz, coeditor of
Contested Histories in Public Space: Memory, Race, and Nation
“[O]n whole the volume succeeds well in pushing forward the idea of linking body and nation.”
“Body and Nation is a valuable contribution to the history of the body and the ‘transnational and transactional dimensions of biopolitics’ (2).... Throughout their volume the included essays put forth a compelling portrait of the social construction of physical bodies and the ways they have ‘intertwined with projections of a U.S. National body’ (2).”
Journal of Social History
"[T]he essays are accessible and engaging, illuminating some lesser-known moments in the history of bodies and U.S. empire and revisiting some better-known ones. The book would work well for an undergraduate or graduate course, as it provides a useful introduction to this rich and still-undertheorized topic."
Journal of American History
"The editors have done a superb job in compiling the contributions, the level of coherence between the essays is highly impressive, and it is to be hoped that the collection prompts far greater scholarly engagement with the impact that perceptions of illness, the body, and well-being have had on America's engagement with the wider world."
Journal of American Studies
"A compelling read, Body and Nation is a valuable addition to the expanding field of biopolitics, and will be a useful reference for undergraduates, postgraduates and scholars of American studies, history, comparative literature, and media studies."
European Journal of American Studies