Mammographies: The Cultural Discourses of Breast Cancer Narratives

This book's compelling subject is the narratives of contemporary writers and artists who probe the ravages of breast cancer. Mary K. DeShazer's focus is on memoirs and photographic narratives of breast cancer, a category she calls mammographies to signify both the imaging technology by which most Western women discover they have thisdisease and the documentary imperatives that drive their written and visual accounts of it. Mammographies argues that contemporary breast cancer narratives differ from their predecessors in noteworthy ways, addressing neglected topics such as the links between cancer and environmental carcinogens, the ethics and efficacy of genetic testing and prophylactic mastectomy, and the shifting politics of prosthesis and reconstruction. DeShazer explores the ways in which the narratives constitute a distinctive testimonial and memorial tradition, a claim supported by close readings and theoretical analysis that demonstrate how these narratives question hegemonic cultural discourses, empower reader-viewers as empathic witnesses, and provide communal sites for mourning, resisting, and remembering.