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Week 21

Theme 6 Bodies and the body politic: life, death and organ transplantation

 

Week 21

Tissues and treatments: organ transplantation

Only relatively recently have we been able to transplant organs from one human body to another successfully. By contrast, for millennia we have imbued organs like the heart with great cultural significance – significance which is bound up with our assumptions about the embodied nature of personality and individuality. Thus it is perhaps unsurprising that our responses to organ transplantation and other medical uses of human tissue are often ambiguous. This week we will look at the interplay between history, nationhood, and responses to organ transplantation.

 

Seminar topic: ‘Medicine gone mad’: Nazis, Nuremburg, and national identity

Have German responses to the revelations of Nuremberg and the post-war era created a distinctive ‘German medicine’, or merely reinforced differences that were already embedded in German culture? Why is it shocking that medicine and medical professionals participated fully in the Holocaust, turning some bodies into commodities? And to what extent are suspicions of organ transplantation specific to Germany?

 

Required Reading:

  • Linda Hogle Recovering the Nation’s Body: Cultural Memory Medicine and the Politics of Redemption (New Brunswick: Rutgers, 1999), Section 1 ‘German Culture, History and the Boundaries of the Body’

OR

  • Gerhard Baader, Susan E. Lederer, Morris Low, Florian Schmaltz and Alexander V. Schwerin, ‘Pathways to Human Experimentation, 1933-1945: Germany, Japan, and the United States’, Osiris, 2nd Series, Vol. 20, (2005), pp. 205-231 JSTOR AND

  • Urban Wiesing, ‘Genetics in Germany: History and Hysteria’, in Ruth Chadwick, Darren Shickle, et al (eds), The Ethics of Genetic Screening (London: Kluwer, 1999): pp. 147-156.

 

Background and Further Reading:

Film: Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, Nazi Medicine: in the Shadow of the Reich

Mark Adams, Garland Allen and Sheila Weiss, 'Human Heredity and Politics: A Comparative Institutional Study of the Eugenics Heredity Office at the Cold Spring Harbour (United States), the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics (Germany) and the Maxim Gorky Medical Genetics Institute (USSR)', Osiris, 2nd Series Vol. 20, (2005), pp.232-262.

Gerhard Baader, Susan E. Lederer, Morris Low, Florian Schmaltz and Alexander V. Schwerin, ‘Pathways to Human Experimentation, 1933-1945: Germany, Japan, and the United States’, Osiris, 2nd Series, Vol. 20, (2005), pp. 205-231 JSTOR

Mary Jo Festle, 'Enemies or Allies?: The organ Transplant Community, the Federal Government, and the Public in the United States, 1967-2000', Journal of the History of Medicine and the Allied Sciences 65: 1 (2010).

Hannah Landecker, 'Between Beneficence and Chattel: The Human Biological in Law and Science' Science in Context (1999), 12: 203-225

Susan E. Lederer, Subjected to science: human experimentation in America before the Second World War.

Gordon R. Mitchell, Kelly Happe, ‘Informed Consent After the Human Genome Project’, Rhetoric & Public Affairs, Vol. 4, No. 3, Fall 2001, pp. 375-406

David Rosner, ‘Human Guinea Pigs: Medical Experimentation Before World War II’, Reviews in American History, Vol. 24, No. 4, December 1996, pp. 652-656. Project Muse

Jon Turney, Frankenstein’s Footsteps: Science, genetics and popular culture (London: Yale University Press, 1998), ‘Chapter 4: Creating Life in the laboratory’.

Catherine Waldby, Robert Mitchell Tissue Economies: Blood, Organs, and Cell Lines in Late Capitalism, Duke University Press, 2006.

Paul Weindling The 'Sonderweg' of German Eugenics: Nationalism and Scientific Internationalism, The British Journal for the History of Science, Vol. 22, No. 3, (1989), pp. 321-333

Urban Wiesing, ‘Genetics in Germany: History and Hysteria’, in Ruth Chadwick, Darren Shickle, et al (eds), The Ethics of Genetic Screening (London: Kluwer, 1999): pp. 147-156.