Bodies in A Broken World

Bodies in A Broken World

Women Novelists of Color and the Politics of Medicine

eBook - 2003
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The University of North Carolina Press
In this multidisciplinary study, Ann Folwell Stanford reads literature written by U.S. women of color to propose a rethinking of modern medical practice, arguing that personal health and social justice are inextricably linked. Drawing on feminist ethics to explore the work of eleven novelists, Stanford challenges medicine to position itself more deeply within the communities it serves, especially the poor and marginalized. However, she also argues that medicine must recognize its limits and join forces with the nonmedical community in the struggle for social justice.

In literary representations of physical and emotional states of illness and health, Stanford identifies issues related to public health, medical ethics, institutionalized racism, women's health, domestic abuse, and social justice that are important to discussions about how to improve health and health care. She argues that in either direct or indirect ways, the eleven novelists considered here push us to see health not only as an individual condition but also as a complex network of individual, institutional, and social changes in which wellness can be a possibility for the majority rather than a privileged few.

The novelists whose works are discussed are Toni Cade Bambara, Paule Marshall, Gloria Naylor, Leslie Marmon Silko, Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, Sandra Cisneros, Bebe Moore Campbell, Sapphire, Ana Castillo, and Octavia Butler.
In this multidisciplinary study, Ann Folwell Stanford reads literature written by U.S. women of color to propose a rethinking of modern medical practice, arguing that personal health and social justice are inextricably linked. Drawing on feminist ethics to explore the work of eleven novelists, Stanford challenges medicine to position itself more deeply within the communities it serves, especially the poor and marginalized. However, she also argues that medicine must recognize its limits and join forces with the nonmedical community in the struggle for social justice.

In literary representations of physical and emotional states of illness and health, Stanford identifies issues related to public health, medical ethics, institutionalized racism, women's health, domestic abuse, and social justice that are important to discussions about how to improve health and health care. She argues that in either direct or indirect ways, the eleven novelists considered here push us to see health not only as an individual condition but also as a complex network of individual, institutional, and social changes in which wellness can be a possibility for the majority rather than a privileged few.

The novelists whose works are discussed are Toni Cade Bambara, Paule Marshall, Gloria Naylor, Leslie Marmon Silko, Toni Morrison, Louise Erdrich, Sandra Cisneros, Bebe Moore Campbell, Sapphire, Ana Castillo, and Octavia Butler.

Stanford examines fifteen novels by American women writers of color--including Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor, Octavia Butler, Louise Erdrich, and Sandra Cisneros--and applies their critique of American medicine and society to current inadequacies in our health care system.


Publisher: Chapel Hill : University of North Carolina Press, ©2003
ISBN: 9780807862254
0807862258
Characteristics: 1 online resource (xi, 266 pages)

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