Attachments to War: Biomedical Logics and Violence in Twenty-first Century America


Attachments to War: Biomedical Logics and Violence in Twenty-first Century America

Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies Faculty Candidate Jennifer Terry, Associate Professor, UC Irvine

Thursday March 9 | 5:15PM

3201 Hart Hall

This presentation will discuss the value of intersectional feminist science studies critique for understanding biomedical logics and technoscientific innovations that are concerned with bodies wounded or sickened by contemporary warfare conducted by the United States. Twenty-first-century American empire is a key formation where the convergence of money, military power, and medical science draws experts and investors toward perceived opportunities facilitated by certain transnational networks that are involved in one way or another in the mutual provocation between war-making and biomedical knowledge production. Wounding becomes a boon to the biomedical industry and its shareholders through a political grammar that emphasizes “quality of life,” and the “free” pursuit of “health,” “longevity,” “vitality,” “freedom,” and other cherished axioms of democracy, all of which are invoked in branding slogans that animate twenty-first-century biomedical war profiteering. Of course, war’s biomedical and affective benefits are selectively distributed, available to those who can afford them and not to those who are destroyed in war. I will elaborate upon these claims in the talk.

Jennifer Terry is in the department of Gender & Sexuality Studies at the University of California at Irvine, and a faculty affiliate in the departments of Anthropology and Comparative Literature. Her books include An American Obsession: Science, Medicine, and Homosexuality in Modern Society (University of Chicago Press, 1999), two co-edited anthologies, Deviant Bodies: Critical Perspectives on Difference in Science and Popular Culture (Indiana University Press, 1995) and Processed Lives: Gender and Technology in Everyday Life (Routledge, 1997), and the forthcoming Attachments to War: Biomedical Logics and Violence in 21st-Century America (Duke 2017). She has written articles on reproductive politics, gender and technology, the history of sexual science, scientific approaches to the sex lives of animals, love of objects, signature injuries of war, and the relationship between war-making practices and entertainment.