Blood Cultures: Medicine, Media, and Militarisms

Spilling blood, banking blood, and even sucking blood defined 20th-century American empire from Alcatraz Island to Guantánamo Bay

Book description

Combining science studies, popular culture, and anti-racist feminist and queer politics, Blood Blood Cultures: Medicine, Media, and Militarisms examines how blood saturated the twentieth-century US cultural imaginary, slipped into laws and policies, flowed across screens, and seeped into our most intimate encounters.

The book assembles and engages a diverse archive including blood quantum rules, immigration and asylum law, transnational feminist blood art, epidemiological maps of disease, global health AIDS policies, Cold War vampire films, blood testing and sterilization practices, and activist blood drive campaigns.

Hannabach traces how these gendered, sexualized, and racialized blood practices were violently mobilized in the service of US empire, as well as creatively transformed by feminist, anticolonial, anticapitalist, and queer artists and activists.


Blood Cultures cover
  • Photo of Julie Sze against green plants background
    “Cathy Hannabach assembles an impressive interdisciplinary archive to explore important questions in twentieth century US political and cultural histories. Analyzing blood as both metaphor and material practice, Hannabach's inventive, lively, and important book examines the relationship between race, gender/sexuality, and national belonging in popular culture, medicine, and in the military. Essential reading for transnational American studies, gender and sexuality studies, and science and technology studies.”
    Julie Sze
    author of Fantasy Islands: Chinese Dreams and Ecological Fears in an Age of Climate Crisis

Table of Contents

Introduction: Blood Cultures

Bleeding Identities: The Racial and Sexual Politics of Blood Drive Activism

Cartographies of Blood and Violence

Technologies of Blood: The Biopolitics of Asylum

Blood and the Bomb: Atomic Cities, Nuclear Kinship, and Queer Vampires

Conclusion: Sanguinary Futures

  • Eric Smoodin
    “How does blood circulate—not simply in bodies, but through politics and over maps and across media? This is the question that is central to Cathy Hannabach’s stunning multi-disciplinary, transnational analysis of how blood gave life to American modernity. This book creates a narrative of the twentieth century and a means of understanding the nation and its practices, from the American Red Cross to Guantánamo Bay.”
    Eric Smoodin
    author of Regarding Frank Capra: Audience, Celebrity, and American Film Studies, 1930-1960

About the author

Cathy Hannabach wearing a black shirt, green glasses, and teal earrings

Cathy Hannabach, PhD, is a book editor, podcaster, and independent scholar who helps interdisciplinary academics turn their vibrant ideas into reality and get their work into the communities they want to reach.

Her scholarship focuses on transnational feminist cultural studies, queer disability studies, and science and technology studies.

She is the author of  Blood Cultures: Medicine, Media, and Militarisms(2015), which traces the cultural history of blood as it both enabled twentieth-century US imperialism and was creatively transformed by feminist, anticolonial, anticapitalist, and queer artists and activists, and Book Marketing for Academics (2016), which teaches you how to harness your resources, skills, and time to build your author platform and get the word out about your awesome new book.

Her scholarship and other writing has been published in scholarly journals, edited collections, newspapers, and blogs, including Cultural PoliticsWomen & PerformanceSucceeding Beyond AcademiaSocial Text: PeriscopeStudies in Gender and Sexuality Studies, the Journal of HomosexualityBully BloggersTime & SocietyZombies and Sexuality, and the California Aggie.

Read a review of Blood Cultures in the journal Medical History

  • Juana María Rodríguez
    Blood Cultures is everything cultural studies scholarship aspires to be: urgent, rigorously interdisciplinary and bold in theorization and execution. And Cathy Hannabach is one of the most gifted, erudite, and sophisticated scholars I know.”
    Juana María Rodríguez
    author of Sexual Futures, Queer Gestures, and Other Latina Longings