Examining medical pluralism in the United States from the Revolutionary War period through the end of the twentieth century, Hans Baer brings together in one convenient reference a vast array of information on healing systems as diverse as Christian Science, osteopathy, acupuncture, Santeria, southern Appalachian herbalism, evangelical faith healing, and Navajo healing.
In a country where the dominant paradigm of biomedicine (medical schools, research hospitals, clinics staffed by M.D.s and R.N.s) has been long established and supported by laws and regulations, the continuing appeal of other medical systems and subsystems bears careful consideration. Distinctions of class, Baer emphasizes, as well as differences in race, ethnicity, and gender, are fundamental to the diversity of beliefs, techniques, and social organizations represented in the phenomenon of medical pluralism.
Baer traces the simultaneous emergence in the nineteenth century of formalized biomedicine and of homeopathy, botanic medicine, hydropathy, Christian Science, osteopathy, and chiropractic. He examines present-day osteopathic medicine as a system parallel to biomedicine with an emphasis on primary care; chiropractic, naturopathy, and acupuncture as professionalized heterodox medical systems; homeopathy, herbalism, bodywork, and lay midwifery in the context of the holistic health movement; Anglo-American religious healing; and folk medical systems, particularly among racial and ethnic minorities. In closing he focuses on the persistence of folk medical systems among working-class Americans and considers the growing interest of biomedical physicians, pharmaceutical and healthcare corporations, and government in the holistic health movement
Objects of fear and fascination, cannibals have long signified an elemental "otherness," an existence outside the bounds of normalcy. In the American imagination, the figure of the cannibal has evolved tellingly over time, as Jeff Berglund shows in this study encompassing a strikingly eclectic collection of cultural, literary, and cinematic texts. Cannibal Fictions brings together two discrete periods in U.S. history: the years between the Civil War and World War I, the high-water mark in America's imperial presence, and the post-Vietnam era, when the nation was beginning to seriously question its own global agenda. Berglund shows how P. T. Barnum, in a traveling exhibit featuring so-called "Fiji cannibals," served up an alien "other" for popular consumption, while Edgar Rice Burroughs in his Tarzan of the Apes series tapped into similar anxieties about the eruption of foreign elements into a homogeneous culture. Turning to the last decades of the twentieth century, Berglund considers how treatments of cannibalism variously perpetuated or subverted racist, sexist, and homophobic ideologies rooted in earlier times. Fannie Flagg's novel Fried Green Tomatoes invokes cannibalism to new effect, offering an explicit critique of racial, gender, and sexual politics (an element to a large extent suppressed in the movie adaptation). Recurring motifs in contemporary Native American writing suggest how Western expansion has, cannibalistically, laid the seeds of its own destruction. And James Dobson's recent efforts to link the pro-life agenda to allegations of cannibalism in China testify still further to the currency and pervasiveness of this powerful trope.
By highlighting practices that preclude the many from becoming one, these representations of cannibalism, Berglund argues, call into question the comforting national narrative of e pluribus unum.
In Games of Property, distinguished critic Thadious M. Davis provides a dazzling new interpretation of William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses. Davis argues that in its unrelenting attention to issues related to the ownership of land and people, Go Down, Moses ranks among Faulkner’s finest and most accomplished works. Bringing together law, social history, game theory, and feminist critiques, she shows that the book is unified by games—fox hunting, gambling with cards and dice, racing—and, like the law, games are rule-dependent forms of social control and commentary. She illuminates the dual focus in Go Down, Moses on property and ownership on the one hand and on masculine sport and social ritual on the other. Games of Property is a masterful contribution to understandings of Faulkner’s fiction and the power and scope of property law.
Ever since Alfred Binet carried out a 1904 commission from France’s minister of public instruction to devise a means for deciding which pupils should be sent to what would now be called special education classes, IQ scores have been used to label and track children. Those same scores have been cited as "proof" that different races, classes, and genders are of superior and inferior intelligence.
The Menshes make clear that from the beginning IQ tests have been fundamentally biased. Offered as a means for seeking solutions to social problems, the actual measurements have been used to maintain the status quo. Often the most telling comments are from the test-makers themselves, whether Binet ("little girls weak in orthography are strong in sewing and capable in the instruction concerning housekeeping; and, all things considered, this is more important for their future") or Wigdor and Garner ("naive use of intelligence tests . . . to place children of linguistic or racial minority status in special education programs will not be defensible in court").
Among the disturbing facts that the authors share is that there is mounting political pressure for more tests and testing despite a court trial in which the judge stated that "defendants’ expert witnesses, even those clearly affiliated with the companies that devise and distribute the standardized intelligence tests, agreed, with one exception, that we cannot truly define, much less measure, intelligence." The testing firms have responded to this carefully orchestrated need with new products that extend even to the IQ testing of three-month-old infants. The authors stress that, if the testers prevail, there is little doubt that these and similar tests would be used "ad infinitum to justify superior and inferior education along class and racial lines."
In Private Bodies, Public Texts, Karla FC Holloway examines instances where medical issues and information that would usually be seen as intimate, private matters are forced into the public sphere. As she demonstrates, the resulting social dramas often play out on the bodies of women and African Americans. Holloway discusses the spectacle of the Terri Schiavo right-to-die case and the injustice of medical researchers’ use of Henrietta Lacks’s cell line without her or her family’s knowledge or permission. She offers a provocative reading of the Tuskegee syphilis study and a haunting account of the ethical dilemmas that confronted physicians, patients, and families when a hospital became a space for dying rather than healing during Hurricane Katrina; even at that dire moment, race mattered. Private Bodies, Public Texts is a compelling call for a cultural bioethics that attends to the historical and social factors that render some populations more vulnerable than others in medical and legal contexts. Holloway proposes literature as a conceptual anchor for discussions of race, gender, bioethics, and the right to privacy. Literary narratives can accommodate thick description, multiple subjectivities, contradiction, and complexity.
"Butler-Evans's work is everywhere sensitive to the nuances of textual disruptions, to subtle shifts of point of view and to rhetorical dissonance. His dense and adroit readings of even the most familiar writings force the reader to reconsider his or her relation to and understanding of the text in question.... An influential contribution to one of the most exciting new areas of literary study and critical/theoretical debate."
--Valerie Smith, Princeton University
Employing interpretive strategies from semiotics, narratology, feminist theory, and ideological analysis, Elliott Butler-Evans explores the manner in which the politics of race and gender overdetermine the narrative structures of the fiction of Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker. He argues that their writing is "often the site of dissonance, ruptures, and...a kind of narrative violence generated by...these two distinctly different, and often contending, expressions of desire."
For novelists such as those considered, the identification "black women writers" suggests the ideological duality that both limits and expands the meanings within their literature. After locating the nationalist, black aesthetic, and black feminist discourses in the writings of Morrison, Bambara, and Walker, Butler-Evans argues for a problematic tension between the racial and gender ideologies in the authors' fictions of the 1970s. In a concluding chapter, he demonstrates how the writers' use of post-modern narrative strategies enables them to figure a black feminist ideological position in their fictions of the 1980s.
"A work of engaging, challenging scholarship. The critical matrix that informs many of the important issues in contemporary critical/literary theory and a fine understanding of the often-dismissed Black Arts Movement whose suppositions, as he demonstrates, find refiguration in--and are challenged by--the work of Bambara, Morrison, and Walker.... He offers a much-needed study that boldly asserts the appropriateness of poststructuralist Afrocentric/feminist literary analysis. Many scholars are starving for sophisticated theoretical analysis of the brilliant work of Afro American writers such as Morrison, Walker, and Bambara. Butler-Evans's provocative study will provide such readers with much food for though, and may permanently alter the ways in which we read these writers."
--Michael Awkward, Center of Afro-American and African Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
Reversing the Lens brings together noted scholars in history, anthropology, sociology, ethnic studies and film studies to promote film as a powerful classroom tool that can be used to foster cross-cultural communication with respect to race and ethnicity. Through such films as Skin Deep, Slaying the Dragon, and Mississippi Masala, contributors demonstrate why and how visual media help delineate various forms of "critical visual thinking" and examine how racialization is either sedimented or contested in the popular imagination. Not limited to classroom use, Reversing the Lens is relevant to anyone who is curious about how video and film can be utilized to expose race as a social construction in dialogue with other potential forms of difference and subject to political contestation.
Focusing on intersecting issues of nation, race, and gender, this volume inaugurates new models for American literary and cultural history. Subjects and Citizens reveals the many ways in which a wide range of canonical and non-canonical writing contends with the most crucial social, political, and literary issues of our past and present.
Defining the landscape of the New American literary history, these essays are united by three interrelated concerns: ideas of origin (where does "American literature" begin?), ideas of nation (what does "American literature" mean?), and ideas of race and gender (what does "American literature" include and exclude and how?). Work by writers as diverse as Aphra Behn, James Fenimore Cooper, Edgar Allan Poe, Frances Harper, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Herman Melville, William Faulkner, Harriet Jacobs, Frederick Douglass, Abraham Lincoln, Bharati Mukherjee, Booker T. Washington, Mark Twain, Kate Chopin, Américo Paredes, and Toni Morrison are discussed from several theoretical perspectives, using a variety of methodologies. Issues of the "frontier" and the "border" as well as those of coloniality and postcoloniality are explored. In each case, these essays emphasize the ideological nature of national identity and, more specifically, the centrality of race and gender to our concept of nationhood.
Collected from recent issues of American Literature, with three new essays added, Subjects and Citizens charts the new directions being taken in American literary studies.
Contributors. Daniel Cooper Alarcón, Lori Askeland, Stephanie Athey, Nancy Bentley, Lauren Berlant, Michele A. Birnbaum, Kristin Carter-Sanborn, Russ Castronovo, Joan Dayan, Julie Ellison, Sander L. Gilman, Karla F. C. Holloway, Annette Kolodny, Barbara Ladd, Lora Romero, Ramón Saldívar, Maggie Sale, Siobhan Senier, Timothy Sweet, Maurice Wallace, Elizabeth Young