Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226461366 Published April 2017
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226461229 Published April 2017
E-book $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226461533 Published April 2017 Also Available From
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Face/On

Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other

Sharrona Pearl

Face/On

Sharrona Pearl

272 pages | 8 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2017
Paper $35.00 ISBN: 9780226461366 Published April 2017
Cloth $105.00 ISBN: 9780226461229 Published April 2017
E-book $35.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226461533 Published April 2017
Are our identities attached to our faces? If so, what happens when the face connected to the self is gone forever—or replaced? In Face/On, Sharrona Pearl investigates the stakes for changing the face–and the changing stakes for the face—in both contemporary society and the sciences.
 
The first comprehensive cultural study of face transplant surgery, Face/On reveals our true relationships to faces and facelessness, explains the significance we place on facial manipulation, and decodes how we understand loss, reconstruction, and transplantation of the face. To achieve this, Pearl draws on a vast array of sources: bioethical and medical reports, newspaper and television coverage, performances by pop culture icons, hospital records, personal interviews, films, and military files. She argues that we are on the cusp of a new ethics, in an opportune moment for reframing essentialist ideas about appearance in favor of a more expansive form of interpersonal interaction. Accessibly written and respectfully illustrated, Face/On offers a new perspective on face transplant surgery as a way to consider the self and its representation as constantly present and evolving. Highly interdisciplinary, this study will appeal to anyone wishing to know more about critical interventions into recent medicine, makeover culture, and the beauty industry.
 
Contents
1          Introduction: Effacing
2          Mind/Medicine
3          Losing Face on Film
4          Decoding the Face-Transplant Debates
5          A Very Special Makeover: Face Transplants on Television
6          Conclusion: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other
Acknowledgments
Appendix: Face Transplant Recipients
Notes
Bibliography
Index
 
Review Quotes
Times Higher Education
"Although only about 30 face transplants have been performed, Sharrona Pearl believes that the procedure – and the ways it has been represented in films and television – touches on crucial 'questions of the self, the relationship between mind and body [and] cultural negotiations of self-presentation and manipulation'. It may also lead us to think again about the design of digital avatars and how 'faces in advertising and other media [are manipulated] to elicit behaviour from viewers'. This book charts the strange territory that has been opened up by the advent of face transplants and claims it may be 'time to come up with a new ethics of the face'."
 
Carla Nappi | New Books Network
"Sharrona Pearl‘s new book is an absolute pleasure to read. Face/On looks closely at facial allotransplantations (FAT), commonly known as face transplants, in order to offer a careful and fascinating study of the stakes for changing the face, and the changing stakes for the face....  [S]parklingly written and well worth a read!"
American Journal of Transplantation
"An expert on physiognomy, Pearl delves into the multiple ethical and social dimensions of face transplants touching on questions of self-identity, and peer and social identification....This book is an interesting read for everyone and closes the gap between science fiction and the realities of modern medicine. Sharrona Pearl raises socially relevant questions and issues in modern medicine, psychology, philosophy and science, and makes the reader think not only about the faces of other people, but how we look and judge others and how we look at ourselves."
John Durham Peters, Yale University
“Written in a voice that is punchy, personal, ruminative, probing, and always crystal clear, Face/On shows how face transplants raise some of the oldest mysteries of identity and embodiment. Not only an inquiry into medical and media ethics, it is also a philosophical consideration of identity, a cultural study of popular discourse, an exploration of intractable questions about health and beauty, and a consideration of what it means to be an enfleshed being. Always poignant and funny, Face/On is illuminating.”
Kathy Davis, author of Reshaping the Female Body
“In this thoughtful and engaging exploration of medical, cinematic, popular, and literary representations of the face transplant, Pearl deftly shows what is at stake when faces are surgically changed as well as how these stakes have changed over the past century. Face/On powerfully confronts the societal abnegation of the faceless, the disfigured, and the visually different, compelling us all to rethink how we imagine humanity.”
Jack Halberstam, author of The Queer Art of Failure
“Pearl has provided us with a new chapter in the history of modern identity. Beautifully written, Face/On offers both a history of medical transplants and an account of philosophical and theoretical investigations of the relations between face and self.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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