Body and Nation: The Global Realm of US Body Politics in the Twentieth Century brings together an impressive range of essays, thus delivering on its promise to “interrogate the connections among the body, the nation and the world in twentieth-century US history” (1). Through twelve elegantly written chapters that build on the so-called “bodily turn” in the humanities and social sciences, the book re-examines events in US history by attending to the bodies involved in them. These include the bodies of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Cuban and Mexican immigrants; Filipino sex workers forced to undergo medical health inspection during the American-Philippine War, and shell-shocked American soldiers; Circus performers, and body-builders; Japanese-American film star Anna May Wong, and Korean-American diver Sammy Lee; the mixed-race children of African-American soldiers stationed in Germany, and the bodies of Vietnamese casualties of war. Together, the essays explore the role of physical and symbolic bodies in areas as disparate as international warfare, propaganda, health legislation, race relations and the construction of gender and beauty. The authors show these different topics to be closely related, while the treatment of recurring themes (masculinity, physical fitness and national power; disease as a metaphor for otherness; torture as a means to stamp it out) in the individual essays complement rather than replicate each other—an impressive accomplishment in itself.
|Journal||European Journal of American Studies|
|Publication status||Published - May 2016|
- American studies
- twentieth century
- nineteenth century
- American history
- material cultures