Transplantation : changing biotechnologies and imaginaries

McCormack, Donna and Shildrick, Margrit (2021) Transplantation : changing biotechnologies and imaginaries. Medical Humanities, 47 (4). pp. 385-387. ISSN 1473-4265 (

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This special issue explores developing understandings of the limits and possible extensions of organ and tissue transplantation. Encompassing interdisciplinary research around biomedicine, philosophy, literature and film, science and technology studies, anthropology, and transplant studies, the special issue demonstrates how our understanding of embodiment is being transformed in the age of advanced biotechnologies. As the centuries-old project of the European Enlightenment is reaching inadequacy, what is urgently needed is a thorough reconfiguration of the bioethics, epistemology and ontology of what has hitherto been understood as normative human embodiment. In our own era, these parameters are already highly contested, and it is necessary to think different presents and futures that do not take for granted the wholeness, separation and independence of the normatively healthy human body. As a discourse of immense power in shaping social expectations, mores and practices, biomedicine is a prime site for generating critical rethinking, and we aim to elucidate the impact of specific biotechnologies on how we comprehend the transformative possibilities of varying human embodiment.