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What It Means to Be Human

Historical Reflections from the 1800s to the Present

List Price: $22.95

July 23, 2013 | Paperback | 5.6 x 8.7, 448 pages | ISBN 9781619021679
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Avoiding the impenetrable prose often found in academic books, this deeply scholarly work is lively and challenging in equal measure, and rewarding throughout. –Boston Globe
In this fascinating account, Joanna Bourke addresses the profound question of what it means to be human rather than animal. How are people excluded from political personhood? How does one become entitled to rights? The distinction between the two concepts is a blurred line, permanently under construction. If the Earnest Englishwoman had been capable of looking 100 years into the future, she might have wondered about the human status of chimeras, or the ethics of stem cell research. Political disclosures and scientific advances have been relocating the human-animal border at an alarming speed. In this meticulously researched, illuminating book, Bourke explores the legacy of more than two centuries, and looks forward into what the future might hold for humans, women, and animals.

About Joanna Bourke

Joanna Bourke is Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. She is the prize-winning author of eleven books, including histories on modern warfare, military medicine, psychology and psychiatry, the emotions, and rape. Among others, she is the author of Dismembering the Male: Men's Bodies, Britain, and the Great War (1996), An Intimate History of Killing (1999), Fear: A Cultural History (2005) and Rape: A History from the 1860s to the Present (2007). Her book, What it Means to be Human: Reflections from 1791 to the Present was published by Virago in 2011. In addition to Wounding the World: How Military Violence and War-Play Invade our Lives (Counterpoint and Virago, November 2014), in June 2014 she publishes The Story of Pain: From Prayer to Painkillers. Her books have been translated into Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Catalan, Italian, Portuguese, Czech, Turkish, and Greek. An Intimate History of Killing won the Wolfson Prize and the Fraenkel Prize. Her 40-CD audio history of Britain, entitled "Eyewitness" won the Gold for the Best Audio Production for Volume 1910-1919, Gold for the Best Audio Production for Volume 1940-1949, and the Gold for the Most Original Audio for all 10 volumes. She is a frequent contributor to TV and radio shows, and a regular correspondent for newspapers.

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