Joint Book Talk by Sharrona Pearl and Jessa Lingel

Sharrona Pearl and Jessa Lingel
Date: 
01 May 2017 - 6:00pm to 7:00pm
Location: 
University of Pennsylvania Bookstore, 3601 Walnut Street, Philadelphia
Audience: 
Open to the Public
Type: 
Book Talk

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Professor Sharrona Pearl and Professor Jessa Lingel will each discuss their newly published books.

About Face/On: Face Transplants and the Ethics of the Other (University of Chicago Press):

Are our identities attached to our faces? If so, what happens when the face connected to the self is gone forever—or replaced? In Face/On, Sharrona Pearl investigates the stakes for changing the face–and the changing stakes for the face—in both contemporary society and the sciences.
 
The first comprehensive cultural study of face transplant surgery, Face/On reveals our true relationships to faces and facelessness, explains the significance we place on facial manipulation, and decodes how we understand loss, reconstruction, and transplantation of the face. To achieve this, Pearl draws on a vast array of sources: bioethical and medical reports, newspaper and television coverage, performances by pop culture icons, hospital records, personal interviews, films, and military files. She argues that we are on the cusp of a new ethics, in an opportune moment for reframing essentialist ideas about appearance in favor of a more expansive form of interpersonal interaction. Accessibly written and respectfully illustrated, Face/On offers a new perspective on face transplant surgery as a way to consider the self and its representation as constantly present and evolving. Highly interdisciplinary, this study will appeal to anyone wishing to know more about critical interventions into recent medicine, makeover culture, and the beauty industry.

About Digital Countercultures and the Struggle for Community (MIT Press):

Whether by accidental keystroke or deliberate tinkering, technology is often used in ways that are unintended and unimagined by its designers and inventors. In this book, Jessa Lingel offers an account of digital technology use that looks beyond Silicon Valley and college dropouts-turned-entrepreneurs. Instead, Lingel tells stories from the margins of countercultural communities that have made the Internet meet their needs, subverting established norms of how digital technologies should be used.

Lingel presents three case studies that contrast the imagined uses of the web to its lived and often messy practicalities. She examines a social media platform (developed long before Facebook) for body modification enthusiasts, with early web experiments in blogging, community, wikis, online dating, and podcasts; a network of communication technologies (both analog and digital) developed by a local community of punk rockers to manage information about underground shows; and the use of Facebook and Instagram for both promotional and community purposes by Brooklyn drag queens. Drawing on years of fieldwork, Lingel explores issues of alterity and community, inclusivity and exclusivity, secrecy and surveillance, and anonymity and self-promotion.

By examining online life in terms of countercultural communities, Lingel argues that looking at outsider experiences helps us to imagine new uses and possibilities for the tools and platforms we use in everyday life.

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