Sign of Pathology: U.S. Medical Rhetoric on Abortion, 1800s-1960s


Product Details

Penn State University Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.61 inches | 0.88 pounds

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About the Author

Nathan Stormer is Mark and Marcia Bailey Professor of Communication and Journalism at the University of Maine.


"In Sign of Pathology, Nathan Stormer provides an original genealogical reading of the U.S. medical profession's public discourses about abortion in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Anyone who appreciates Foucauldian perspectives should find admirable Stormer's precisely developed argument that these medical discourses 'made the chaotic material conditions of abortion's morbidity rhetorically capacious for biopolitics.'"

--Celeste M. Condit, University of Georgia

"Nathan Stormer has written a stunning book, beautifully illustrating how rhetorical struggles over and through abortion have long been about situating ourselves--and pregnant women--in time and place. Civilization is recursive to the maternal body, with abortion positioned as a sign of collective disorder. It is precisely because abortion is a medicalized national metric that the issue is so intractable. Defined through biopolitics, abortion is perceived as a collective, irreparable wound, and ongoing political struggles reliant on familiar frameworks only deepen this intractability. Stormer's elegant genealogy, both diagnostic and gently prognostic, has the capacity to shift how we see human reproduction and our place in it."

--Monica J. Casper, University of Arizona

"If your primary scholarship is in abortion rhetorics or historic American medical rhetorics, then this text is an indispensable and invaluable contribution to your area. Similarly, for those interested in rhetorical genealogy and/or rhetorical historiography, broadly conceived, Signs of Pathology is an exemplar text in the genre."

--S. Scott Graham, Rhetoric & Public Affairs