Replaceable You: Engineering the Body in Postwar America (Paperback)
After World War II, the United States underwent a massive cultural transformation that was vividly realized in the development and widespread use of new medical technologies. Plastic surgery, wonder drugs, artificial organs, and prosthetics inspired Americans to believe in a new age of modern medical miracles. The nationalistic pride that flourished in postwar society, meanwhile, encouraged many Americans to put tremendous faith in the power of medicine to rehabilitate and otherwise transform the lives and bodies of the disabled and those considered abnormal. Replaceable You revisits this heady era in American history to consider how these medical technologies and procedures were used to advance the politics of conformity during the 1950s.
David Serlin is associate professor of communication at the University of California, San Diego. He is coeditor of Artificial Parts, Practical Lives: Modern Histories of Prosthetics and Policing Public Sex: Queer Politics and the Future of AIDS Activism.