Author Essays, Interviews, and Excerpts, History and Philosophy of Science

Face/On: The ethics of the transplant

At New Books Network, you’ll find a podcast interview with Sharrona Pearl, author of one of our best-covered (as in images) books of late, Face/On: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Othera perfect storm of cultural studies and synthetic and biogenetic technologies. A brief description from their post follows below, but here’s the real link: to listen in to the fascinating hour-long talk with Pearl!


Troubling the indexical relationship between the face and character and reminding us that “[t]he self has always been a set of choices,” Pearl explores face transplantation as it relates to cosmetic surgery and whole-organ transplants, the cinema of the 1960s, television shows, and more. She carefully and sensitively takes us into the debates among surgeons, bioethicists, and journalists that circled the first partial face transplant of Isabelle Dinoire in 2005, and offers a way toward a philosophical approach that brings together Levinas with the kind of (Deleuzian) subjectivity that allows for individuality through constant change and understands the self to be constantly in a process of becoming. The final chapter of the book also situates the analysis within larger contexts of online subjectivities and work with facial and bodily manipulation by artists and performers. It’s sparklingly written and well worth a read!


To read more about Face/On, click here.