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Face/OnFace Transplants and the Ethics of the Other$
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Sharrona Pearl

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226461229

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226461533.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 09 April 2020

Introduction: Effacing

Introduction: Effacing

(p.1) Chapter 1 Introduction: Effacing

Sharrona Pearl

University of Chicago Press

This introductory chapter frames the book as a whole through the stakes for changing the face, and the changing stakes for the face. It argues that face-transplant surgery is the most dramatic manifestation of face manipulation to date, situating the surgery as the ideal way to explore public representations of the self as always changing. The face transplant is discussed through the indexical relationship between the face and character. The face transplant vexes the index in the most extreme of ways, by substituting not just another face, but the face of another. What does that tell us about both the face and the condition of facelessness? The book lays out the answers to these questions, starting with the assertion that the index of the face has always been unreliable.The face and the self have always been always changing. The face transplant brings that unreliability to the fore, as our reliance on the index itself is undermined. As it should be. We should encounter the faceless just as we encounter the face. Faces are not the index to humanity, no more so than facelessness. We owe the faceless the face- to- face encounter as well, and the ethical obligations incurred therein.

Keywords:   face transplant, facelessness, ethics, indexical, disability, relationality

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