Bio-Imperialism: Disease, Terror, and the Construction of National Fragility (Paperback)

Bio-Imperialism: Disease, Terror, and the Construction of National Fragility By Gwen Shuni D'Arcangelis Cover Image

Bio-Imperialism: Disease, Terror, and the Construction of National Fragility (Paperback)


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Bio-Imperialism focuses on an understudied dimension of the war on terror: the fight against bioterrorism. This component of the war enlisted the biosciences and public health fields to build up the U.S. biodefense industry and U.S. global disease control. The book argues that U.S. imperial ambitions drove these shifts in focus, aided by gendered and racialized discourses on terrorism, disease, and science. These narratives helped rationalize American research expansion into dangerous germs and bioweapons in the name of biodefense and bolstered the U.S. rationale for increased interference in the disease control decisions of Global South nations. Bio-Imperialism is a sobering look at how the war on terror impacted the world in ways that we are only just starting to grapple with.
Gwen Shuni D’Arcangelis is an associate professor of gender studies at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.
Product Details ISBN: 9781978814783
ISBN-10: 197881478X
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Publication Date: December 18th, 2020
Pages: 242
Language: English
"In this astute and timely study, D’Arcangelis tracks the rise of a racialized and gendered 'bioterror imaginary' in the U.S. through science, politics, journalism, social media, and popular culture that facilitated the conversion of warnings of bioterror into a strategy for U.S. imperialism. Bio-Imperialism offers an urgent analysis of how the US produces the threats to the health of a population it ostensibly seeks to address."
— Priscilla Wald

"D’Arcangelis provides a rich, timely, must-read account of the United States’ 'bioterror imaginary' and its role in the construction of national fragility. Bio-Imperialism recounts tales of terrorism, technoscience, caregiving, and preparedness that are entangled in a nationalism conflating public health and national security. In so doing, the book provides impressive insight into the racialized and gendered dynamics underlying the United States’ representation and repurposing of science and health, and the dangers therein."

— Laura Sjoberg

"A concise and powerful book on the injustices and asymmetries of global health security....The book makes two important contributions to the critique of global health. As regards method, it concerns itself with the strategic use of language, through a close reading of policy, legislative, medical and scientific sources. This analytical work is given an ethical edge through the technique of ‘rhetorical re-description’ or ‘paradiastole.’"
— New Genetics and Society