Cripping Transplant Technologies at 4S

Crip/STS Convergences In Transplantation Technologies: Critical Methods For The Curative Imaginary

Suze Berkhout, University of Toronto; Kelly Fritsch, Carleton University

Often considered a pinnacle of medical technoscience, solid organ transplantation and related interventional devices (ventricular assist devices, VADs; extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, ECMO) are described and hoped for as a new and improved state that achieves or approximates cure from serious end-organ disease. At the same time, notions of cure and biomedicine’s “curative imaginary” (Kafer 2013; Clare 2017) have come increasingly under scrutiny as hegemonic ways of knowing and experiencing futurities where health is seen as limitless and intervention inevitable. This open panel asks, “what futures materialize, when transplant medicine is brought into conversation with a critical stance that questions presuppositions about life, livability, difference, and thriving?” We invite those working at critical intersections in STS, particularly critical disability (“crip”) studies and feminist STS, to bring their practices and methods to bear on the field of transplantation as well as transplant-related technologies and sciences. We are especially interested in papers that reflect on futurity as an unstable horizon that requires innovation in methods and practices—from arts-based methods and research creation, to sound studies, to social geographies, to ethnography—how might a diversity of approaches in STS help to understand issues such as the liminality of being waitlisted, the challenges of adhering to strict regimens to preserve a transplanted organ, or the not-infrequent experience of graft rejection? We welcome a range of formats for presentation and will work with presenters to ensure that their work is accessible. The panel will be graphically recorded as part of a larger knowledge mobilization practice.