Gwen Shuni D'Arcangelis's book Bio-Imperialism: Disease, Terror, and the Construction of National Fragility (Rutgers UP, 2020) focuses on an understudied dimension of the war on terror: the fight against bioterrorism. This component of the war enlisted the biosciences and public health fields to build up the U.S. biodefense industry and U.S. global disease control. The book argues that U.S. imperial ambitions drove these shifts in focus, aided by gendered and racialized discourses on terrorism, disease, and science. These narratives helped rationalize American research expansion into dangerous germs and bioweapons in the name of biodefense and bolstered the U.S. rationale for increased interference in the disease control decisions of Global South nations. Bio-Imperialism is a sobering look at how the war on terror impacted the world in ways that we are only just starting to grapple with.
Rachel Pagones is an acupuncturist, educator, and author. Before moving to the UK in 2021 she was chair of the doctoral program in acupuncture and Chinese medicine at Pacific College of Health and Science in San Diego.