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Health Rights Are Civil Rights tells the story of the important place of health in struggles for social change in Los Angeles in the 1960s and 1970s. Jenna M. Loyd describes how Black freedom, antiwar, welfare rights, and women's movement activists formed alliances to battle oppressive health systems and structural violence, working to establish the principle that health is a right. For a time--with President Nixon, big business, and organized labor in agreement on national health insurance--even universal health care seemed a real possibility.
Health Rights Are Civil Rights documents what many Los Angeles activists recognized: that militarization was in part responsible for the inequalities in American cities. This challenging new reading of suburban white flight explores how racial conflicts transpired across a Southland landscape shaped by defense spending. While the war in Vietnam constrained social spending, the New Right gained strength by seizing on the racialized and gendered politics of urban crisis to resist urban reinvestment and social programs.
Recapturing a little-known current of the era's activism, Loyd uses an intersectional approach to show why this diverse group of activists believed that democratic health care and ending war making were essential to create cities of freedom, peace, and social justice--a vision that goes unanswered still today.
"A fascinating, totally seductive read!" --Eula Biss, author of Notes from No Man's Land: American Essays and On Immunity: An Inoculation
"A book built of brain and nerve and blood and heart. . . . Irreverent and astute. . . . Pain Studies will change how you think about living with a body." --Elizabeth McCracken, author of Thunderstruck and Bowlaway
"A thrilling investigation into pain, language, and Olstein's own exile from what Woolf called 'the army of the upright.' On a search path through art, science, poetry, and prime-time television, Olstein aims her knife-bright compassion at the very thing we're all running from. Pain Studies is a masterpiece." --Leni Zumas, author of The Listeners and Red Clocks
In this extended lyric essay, a poet mines her lifelong experience with migraine to deliver a marvelously idiosyncratic cultural history of pain--how we experience, express, treat, and mistreat it. Her sources range from the trial of Joan of Arc to the essays of Virginia Woolf and Elaine Scarry to Hugh Laurie's portrayal of Gregory House on House M.D. As she engages with science, philosophy, visual art, rock lyrics, and field notes from her own medical adventures (both mainstream and alternative), she finds a way to express the often-indescribable experience of living with pain. Eschewing simple epiphanies, Olstein instead gives us a new language to contemplate and empathize with a fundamental aspect of the human condition.
Lisa Olstein teaches at the University of Texas at Austin and is the author of four poetry collections published by Copper Canyon Press. Pain Studies is her first book of creative nonfiction.