Articulating Life's Memory

Articulating Life's Memory : U.S. Medical Rhetoric about Abortion in the Nineteenth Century

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Articulating Life's Memory offers a unique view of the history of abortion in early America. Nathan Stormer's work moves beyond general histories of medicine, science, and women; it provides specific insight into how the earliest medical writings on abortion served to create cultural memory. Nineteenth-century medical texts presented the act of abortion as a threat to the carefully circumscribed concepts of nation and race. Stormer analyzes a wealth of literature (and illustrations) from the period to explore the rhetorical techniques that led early Americans to presume that abortion put the integrity of all of American culture at risk. The book's first part provides a layered context for understanding medical practices within the rhetoric of memory formation and sets early antiabortion efforts within the wider framework of nineteenth-century biopolitics and racism. In Part II of the study, Stormer examines the substance of the memory constituted by these early medical practices. Making a major contribution to the study of rhetoric, Articulating Life's Memory will be invaluable to scholars researching reproductive rights and feminist and cultural histories of medicine.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 149.9 x 223.5 x 15.2mm | 317.52g
  • Lanham, MD, United States
  • English
  • 0739104306
  • 9780739104309

Table of contents

Part 1 Memory in Early Medical Abortion Opposition Chapter 2 Medical Practice, Memory, and Antiabortion Rhetoric Chapter 3 The Politics of Life and Memory Chapter 4 Somatic Confessions Part 5 Articulating a Memory of Life Chapter 6 Organic Discourse Chapter 7 Embodying a Matrix Chapter 8 Prenatal Space Part 9 Conclusion: In Living Memory
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Review quote

Articulating Life's Memory is a timely and provocative book that restores a now-forgotten history to contemporary rhetoric and debates about abortion. Not only does this book give us new insight into the historical development of antiabortion rhetoric, it also illustrates how physicians and medical practices contributed to an understanding of abortion as a central threat to the national, racial, and sexual 'integrity' of the United States. -- Carol Stabile, University of Pittsburgh This book contains a number of fascinating themes, particularly with respect to the evolving relationship of male physicians to their female patients, as they read the body using new instruments and techniques. Journal of American History This book is a fascinating read and makes a major contribution to the history of the abortion debate and to application of rhetorical theory. Rhetoric & Public Affairs This book does an admirable job of synthesizing significant works written on the wider topics of gender, women's bodies, and women's health. -- Deborah Kuhn McGregor, University of Illinois, Springfield The book is rich with historical evidence, complex arguments, and critical insights. Women and Language This book is a very important contribution to the ongoing work in the cultural dynamics performed by biomedical discourses of the nineteenth century. It is also an important case study into the value of post-humanist rhetorical methodologies for generating new knowledges about the constraints placed on traditional forms of public argumentation. -- Ron Greene, University of Minnesota
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About Nathan Stormer

Nathan Stormer is Associate Professor of Communication & Journalism at the University of Maine.
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