What is the cultural politics of science, health, and disease in the U.S.?
Bodies Out of Control explores this question through a series of case studies. From its in-depth examination of the discussions of sickle-cell anemia, schistosomiasis, and cancer in middle school and high school textbooks to its analysis of the news coverage of the anthrax attacks of 2001, the book reveals the entanglements of science, colonialism, nationalism, and identity. The book also explores how the meaning of science itself is worked through in public discourses, offering alternatively medical salvation, confusion, and a vision of a world without pleasure. Finally, to explore what agency and a critical practice of engaging science in classrooms and elsewhere might look like, the book turns to the writings of politicized human research subjects, which demonstrate a spectrum of possibilities for more democratic engagements with science. As a whole, the book emphasizes the importance of engaging texts critically in science education and the ways that the cultural politics of science works through images of human and institutional bodies in and out of control.