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Books Aren’t Dead: Prescription TV

The first Books Aren’t Dead (BAD) interview for 2014 is now uploaded on the Fembot website. In this BAD interview Marisa Brandt (Instructor, University of California, San Diego) talks with Joy V. Fuqua (Assistant Professor, Queens College, City University of New York), author of Prescription TV: Therapeutic Discourse in the Hospital and at Home (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2012).


About Prescription TV: Therapeutic Discourse in the Hospital and at Home (Description from the back cover):

Tracing the history of television as a therapeutic device, Joy V. Fuqua describes how TVs came to make hospitals seem more like home and, later, “medicalized” the modern home. She examines the introduction of television into the private hospital room in the late 1940s and 1950s and then moves several decades to consider the direct-to-consumer prescription drug commercials legalized in 1997. Fuqua explains how, as hospital administrators and designers sought ways of making the hospital a more inviting, personalized space, TV sets came to figure in the architecture and layout of health care facilities. Television manufacturers seized on the idea of therapeutic TV, specifying in their promotional materials how TVs should be used in the hospital and positioned in relation to the viewer. With the debut of direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising in the late 1990s, television assumed a much larger role in the medical marketplace. Taking a case-study approach, Fuqua uses her analysis of an ad campaign promoting Pfizer’s Viagra to illustrate how television, and later the Internet, turned the modern home into a clearinghouse for medial information, redefined and redistributed medical expertise and authority, and, in the process, created the contemporary consumer-patient.

About the Author:

Joy V. Fuqua is Assistant Professor of Media Studies at Queens College, City University of New York.

About the Interviewer:

Marisa Brandt teaches in Communication and Science and Technology Studies at the University of California, San Diego. Her work employs media studies and STS to investigate the cultural and epistemic entanglements of media technologies and clinical psychology. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertation, “War, Trauma, and Technology: The Making of Virtual Reality Exposure Therapy for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” which follows the development and promotion of a virtual reality system designed to aid in psychotherapy for U.S. war veterans.