Past Event

Sharrona Pearl - Face/Off or On? Face Transplants and the Resistance to Categorization

October 17, 2018
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
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Fayerweather Hall (Room 513), Columbia University, 1180 Amsterdam Avenue, New York

Speaker: Sharrona Pearl, Dean's Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania

Both like and not like cosmetic surgery and whole organ transplants, facial allografts have proven difficult to categorize. This talk will show how bioethicists, surgeons, and journalists have conceptualized face transplants as neither and both, and the resulting stakes for each. Paying particular attention to the media coverage of Isabelle Dinoire’s partial facial allograft in 2005, Pearl will discuss the implications of the cosmetic frame and the whole organ frame for the bioethical debates around FAT.

Sharrona Pearl is a Dean's Fellow at the Annenberg School for Communication. A historian and theorist of the body and face, she is an expert on physiognomy - the study of facial features and their relationship to character traits. She has explored the face in a number of articles and two monographs, About Faces: Physiognomy in Nineteenth-Century Britain (link is external) (Harvard University Press, 2010) and Face/On: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other (link is external) (University of Chicago Press, 2017). She is also the editor of Images, Ethics, Technology (link is external) (Routledge, 2016), the latest volume in the Shaping Inquiry in Culture, Communication and Media Studies series.

This event is free and open to the public.

This event is part of the New York History of Science Lecture Series.

Sponsoring Organizations:

  • The University Seminars at Columbia University
  • Columbia University in the City of New York
  • NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study
  • The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • The New York Academy of Medicine
  • The New York Academy of Sciences