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Details of Liminal Lives: Imagining the Human at the Frontiers of Biomedicine

Liminal Lives: Imagining the Human at the Frontiers of Biomedicine
Exact title of book
Liminal Lives: Imagining the Human at the Frontiers of Biomedicine
Book author
Susan Merrill Squier
ISBN
9780822333661
Published
Oct 28, 2004
Language
English
Format
PDF, FB2, EPUB, MOBI
Pages
368
File size (in PDF)
3312 kB

Some brief overview of book

Embryo adoptions, stem cells capable of transforming into any cell in the human body, intra- and inter-species organ transplantationthese and other biomedical advances have unsettled ideas of what it means to be human, of when life begins and ends. In the first study to consider the cultural impact of the medical transformation of the entire human life span, Susan Merrill Squier argues that fictionparticularly science fictionserves as a space where worries about ethically and socially charged scientific procedures are worked through. Indeed, she demonstrates that in many instances fiction has anticipated and paved the way for far-reaching biomedical changes.

Squier uses the anthropological concept of liminalitythe state of being on the threshold of change, no longer one thing yet not quite anotherto explore how, from the early twentieth century forward, fiction and science together have altered not only the concept of the human being but the contours of human life. Drawing on archival materials of twentieth-century biology; little-known works of fiction and science fiction; and twentieth- and twenty-first century U. S. and U.

K. government reports by the National Institutes of Health, the Parliamentary Advisory Group on the Ethics of Xenotransplantation, and the Presidents Council on Bioethics, she examines a number of biomedical changes as each was portrayed by scientists, social scientists, and authors of fiction and poetry. Among the scientific developments she considers are the cultured cell, the hybrid embryo, the engineered intrauterine fetus, the child treated with human growth hormone, the process of organ transplantation, and the elderly person rejuvenated by hormone replacement therapy or other artificial means. Squier shows that in the midst of new phenomena such as these, literature helps us imagine new ways of living.

It allows us to reflect on the possibilities and perils of our liminal lives.

About book author

Merrill Squier is Brill Professor of Womens Studies and English at The Pennsylvania State University. She is author of Babies in Bottles Twentieth-Century Visions of Reproductive Technology; editor of Communities of the Air Radio Century, Radio Culture (published by Duke University Press); and coeditor of Playing Dolly Technocultural Formations, Fantasies, and Fictions of Assisted Reproduction and Arms and the Woman War, Gender, and Literary Representation. She is past president anged scientific procedures are worked through.

Indeed, she demonstrates that in many instances fiction has anticipated and paved the way for far-reaching biomedical changes. Squier uses the anthropological concept of liminalitythe state of being on the threshold of change, no longer one thing yet not quite anotherto explore how, from the early twentieth century forward, fiction and science together have altered not only the concept of the human being but the contours of human life. Drawing on archival materials of twentieth-century biology; little-known works of fiction and science fiction; and twentieth- and twenty-first century U.

S. and U. K. government reports by the National Institutes of Health, the Parliamentary Advisory Group on the Ethics of Xenotransplantation, and the Presidents Council on Bioethics, she examines a number of biomedical changes as each was portrayed by scientists, social scientists, and authors of fiction and poetry. Among the scientific developments she considers are the cultured cell, the hybrid embryo, the engineered intrauterine fetus, the child treated with human growth hormone, the process of organ transplantation, and the elderly person rejuvenated by hormone replacement therapy or other artificial means.

Squier shows that in the midst of new phenomena such as these, literature helps us imagine new ways of living. It allows us to reflect on the possibilities and perils of our liminal lives.

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