Material Bodies

Biology and Culture in the United States

‘Material Bodies’ is a book about the multiple connections, exchanges, interfaces, between biology and culture. It explores how Americans, past and present, have been empowered or constrained by biological factors (real or imagined), how the biology of human life has been holding a special place within US culture, organizing people's praxis, and at the same time also their desires and fears. Positioned at the intersection of somatic and semantic systems, this volume seeks to bring the resources of materialist cultural critique to an exploration of various material arenas of human life, ranging from the public life of public diseases, the cultural grammars of the human body in genetics, in age and disability, all the way to the tensions between suffering and (its) representations in the available cultural archives.

In the arguments presented here, human life and particularly the human body manifest themselves as an endowment, even a resource, but also as sites of questioning, of reflexivity, even of limitation, sites which mark the involuntary dimension of human existence as they impose inexorable limits on individual or collective hopes and projects.


Linda Hess in: Amerikastudien / American Studies, 64:1 (2019), 150-152, DOI:

Sonja Frenzel in: Anglia, 137.2 (2019), 377-382

Joanna Ziarkowska in: Polish Journal for American Studies, 13 (Spring 2019), 116-120

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