Plastic Bodies book launch


Plastic Bodies: Sex Hormones and Menstrual Suppression book launch: Friday, June 10 15.00-17.00 Roetersieland Campus (REC) Common room, University of Amsterdam

In April 2016, Emilia Sanabria’s monograph Plastic Bodies: Sex Hormones and Menstrual Suppression in Brazil was published by Duke University Press. The book provides an ethnographic account of sex hormone use in Bahia, examining how hormones are enrolled to create, mold or discipline social relations and subjectivities. It provides a genealogy of the practice of menstrual suppression which grew out of Cold War neo-Malthusian concerns with overpopulation in the Global South and is being re-marketed as a practice of pharmaceutical self-enhancement couched in neoliberal notions of choice. The book traces the mutually constitutive coming-into-beings of bodies and hormones in Bahia. It examines how the scientific concept “sex hormones” is materialized into pharmaceuticals and how, as drugs, hormones are taken up by users, and absorbed into everyday understandings of the body. Plastic Bodies attends to the materiality of sex hormones while arguing that their efficacies cannot be reduced to their pharmacological properties. Menstrual suppression is analyzed alongside other biomedical interventions into lived bodies and the concept of plasticity is put forward to reveal that bodies are not imagined as fixed but are the objects of constant work. Given this plasticity, and its potentially “explosive” character, the book asks how should the good of bodily interventions be assessed. The conclusion proposes a critical reading of biomedical intervention that that does not mourn for the loss of a natural referent or invest too much hope in an endlessly flexible promissory future. For more information, and to order the book directly from Duke University Press at a 30% discount you can visit and enter the coupon code E16SANAB during checkout.

The complete intro can be found here