A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Modern Age

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The human body was revolutionized in the 20th century. Developments in politics, sexuality, technology, and culture all acted to reshape our understanding of our bodies. The human body in the 21st century is less fixed than ever before with some theorists now even anticipating the post-human body. Diverse factors have impacted on both the real and the imagined body, including war, contraception, medicine, feminism, gay aesthetics, the rise of celebrity culture, totalitarian political regimes, fashion, AIDS, communication technologies and cosmetic surgery. A Cultural History of the Human Body in the Modern Age presents an overview of the period with essays on the centrality of the human body in birth and death, health and disease, sexuality, beauty and concepts of the ideal, bodies marked by gender, race, class and disease, cultural representations and popular beliefs, and self and society.