In Banning Queer Blood, Jeffrey Bennett frames blood donation as a performance of civic identity closely linked to the meaning of citizenship. However, with the advent of AIDS came the notion of blood donation as a potentially dangerous process. Bennett argues that the Food and Drug Administration, by employing images that specifically depict gay men as contagious, has categorized gay men as a menace to the nation. The FDA's ban on blood donation by gay men remains in effect and serves to propagate the social misconceptions about gay men that circulate within both the straight and gay communities today.
Bennett explores the role of scientific research cited by these banned-blood policies and its disquieting relationship to government agencies, including the FDA. Bennett draws parallels between the FDA's position on homosexuality and the historical precedents of discrimination by government agencies against racial minorities. The author concludes by describing the resistance posed by queer donors, who either lie in order to donate blood or protest discrimination at donation sites, and by calling for these prejudiced policies to be abolished.
A timely contribution to the fields of film history, visual cultures, and globalization studies, Cinematic Prophylaxis provides essential historical information about how the representation of biological contagion has affected understandings of the origins and vectors of disease. Kirsten Ostherr tracks visual representations of the contamination of bodies across a range of media, including 1940s public health films; entertainment films such as 1950s alien invasion movies and the 1995 blockbuster Outbreak; television programs in the 1980s, during the early years of the aids epidemic; and the cyber-virus plagued Internet. In so doing, she charts the changes—and the alarming continuities—in popular understandings of the connection between pathologized bodies and the global spread of disease.
Ostherr presents the first in-depth analysis of the public health films produced between World War II and the 1960s that popularized the ideals of world health and taught viewers to imagine the presence of invisible contaminants all around them. She considers not only the content of specific films but also their techniques for making invisible contaminants visible. By identifying the central aesthetic strategies in films produced by the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and other institutions, she reveals how ideas about racial impurity and sexual degeneracy underlay messages ostensibly about world health. Situating these films in relation to those that preceded and followed them, Ostherr shows how, during the postwar era, ideas about contagion were explicitly connected to the global circulation of bodies. While postwar public health films embraced the ideals of world health, they invoked a distinct and deeply anxious mode of representing the spread of disease across national borders.
Terrorism is a cancer, an infection, an epidemic, a plague. For more than a century, this metaphor has figured insurgent violence as contagion in order to contain its political energies. In Epidemic Empire, Anjuli Fatima Raza Kolb shows that this trope began in responses to the Indian Mutiny of 1857 and tracks its tenacious hold through 9/11 and beyond. The result is the first book-length study to approach the global war on terror from a postcolonial literary perspective.
Raza Kolb assembles a diverse archive from colonial India, imperial Britain, French and independent Algeria, the postcolonial Islamic diaspora, and the neo-imperial United States. Anchoring her book are studies of four major writers in the colonial-postcolonial canon: Rudyard Kipling, Bram Stoker, Albert Camus, and Salman Rushdie. Across these sources, she reveals the tendency to imagine anti-colonial rebellion, and Muslim fanaticism specifically, as a virulent form of social contagion. The metaphor surfaces again and again in old ideas like the decadence of Mughal India, the poor hygiene of the Arab quarter, and the “failed states” of postcolonialism. Exposing the long history of this broken but persistent narrative, Epidemic Empire is a major contribution to the rhetorical history of our present moment.
Disease is a social issue, not just a medical issue. Using examples of specific legends and rumors, The Kiss of Death explores the beliefs and practices that permeate notions of contagion and contamination. Author Andrea Kitta offers new insight into the nature of vernacular conceptions of health and sickness and how medical and scientific institutions can use cultural literacy to better meet their communities’ needs.
Using ethnographic, media, and narrative analysis, this book explores the vernacular explanatory models used in decisions concerning contagion to better understand the real fears, risks, concerns, and doubts of the public. Kitta explores immigration and patient zero, zombies and vampires, Slender Man, HPV, and the kiss of death legend, as well as systematic racism, homophobia, and misogyny in North American culture, to examine the nature of contagion and contamination.
Conversations about health and risk cannot take place without considering positionality and intersectionality. In The Kiss of Death, Kitta isolates areas that require better communication and greater cultural sensitivity in the handling of infectious disease, public health, and other health-related disciplines and industries.
Fascism tends to be relegated to a dark chapter of European history, but what if new forms of fascism are currently returning to the forefront of the political scene? In this book, Nidesh Lawtoo furthers his previous diagnostic of crowd behavior, identification, and mimetic contagion to account for the growing shadow cast by authoritarian leaders who rely on new media to take possession of the digital age. Donald Trump is considered here as a case study to illustrate Nietzsche’s untimely claim that, one day, “ ‘actors,’ all kinds of actors, will be the real masters.” In the process, Lawtoo joins forces with a genealogy of mimetic theorists—from Plato to Girard, through Nietzsche, Tarde, Le Bon, Freud, Bataille, Lacoue-Labarthe, and Nancy, among others—to show that (new) fascism may not be fully “new,” let alone original; yet it effectively reloads the old problematics of mimesis via new media that have the disquieting power to turn politics itself into a fiction.
This book discusses diseases that affected human and non-human populations in areas stretching from the Red Sea and Egypt to Anatolia, the Balkans, and the Black Sea, in the early modern and modern eras. It tackles various questions of historiography and sources, tests new interdisciplinary methodologies, and asks new questions while revisiting older ones. It contributes to Ottoman studies, the history of medicine, Mediterranean and European history, as well as global studies on the role of epidemics in history.