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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, 2019. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 October 2019

Mind/Medicine

Mind/Medicine

Chapter:
(p.10) Chapter 2 Mind/Medicine
Source:
Face/On
Author(s):

Sharrona Pearl

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226461533.003.0002

This chapter explores the history of cosmetic surgery and its intersections with transplants, showing how FAT is both and neither and something else entirely. Through a deep dive into the literature of cosmetic surgery, the chapter maps the discursive terrain on which face transplants have been charted, discussing the rhetoric of facial manipulation in the context of FAT. If the lack of a face is a debilitating medical condition for which a transplant is the cure, what is the difference between that and a more cosmetic intervention—is it a difference of degree or kind? The narrative differentiating the former from the latter, this chapter shows,is one of risk: the risk of the operation and especially of the lifetime on immunosuppressants while living with a new face. But risk is just an excuse that obscures the true source of our objections. After a discussion of the first transplants and their relationship to the birth of bioethics as a field, the chapter explores the first facial reattachment and reactions to it. It moves to fears of identity transfer and cellular memory, tracking the literary and cultural manifestations of these phenomena, thinking about how these concerns impact conceptions of transplant surgeries more broadly.

Keywords:   identity transfer, cellular memory, bioethics, cosmetic surgery, organ transplants, face reattachments, cinema studies, science fiction, immunosuppressants, Sandeep Kaur

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