Slow Lacerations: Time in Tissue Transfer Fantastika

How do we show history, money, and surgical and pharmacological change intersecting with bodies? How do we express the times of transplantation, the temporalities of its many dimensions impacting human tissue and flesh and kinship? This paper considers recipient experience and of harvestee vulnerabilities and networks of predation that can feed tissue transfer networks, and suggests that fantastic registers and forms – gothic, horror, science fiction, speculative fictions – can be particularly valuable, even necessary, in excavating some of the stranger experiential dimensions of the process for multiple parties, as well as for communicating inequalities within the systems within which harvests occur. 

I will draw on Rob Nixon’s concept of slow and transgenerational violence, emerging work in the critical medical humanities of affect and illness, and my own concept of stigmaphilia in a minor key, and bring these into dialogue with work including 1950s French horror film, 1970s medical horror, and twenty-first century science fiction. I examine how fantastic modes and registers can express the slow lacerations of tissue economies and transfer process.

About the speaker

Dr Sara Wasson is lecturer in Gothic Studies at Lancaster University. Her research focuses on two strands: the Second World War Gothic of the British Home Front, and the twenty-first century Gothic and Science Fiction. Both of these strands are concerned with ethical witness in response to individual and collective suffering.

Dr Wasson’s current research projects include a monograph entitled Transplantation Gothic, exploring Gothic and horror fantasies of tissue transfer, and her role as Primary Investigator on the AHRC network Translating Chronic Pain, researching literary representations of chronic pain. For more information, see Dr Sara Wasson’s research profile.

Leave a Reply