Book launch: Dangerous Gifts in Bioethics and Literature

Margrit Shildrick, Visceral Prostheses: Somatechnics and Posthuman Embodiment & Alexandra Urakova, Dangerous Giving in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

May 31, 2022, 16.00 at the Helsinki Collegium and online

The Project "The Meanings and Workings of the Gift: From Modernity to the Era of New Technologies’ (funded by Kone Foundation), Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, and Doctoral Programme in Philosophy, Arts, and Literature (University of Helsinki) are pleased to invite you to a joint launch of two books, Visceral Prostheses: Somatechnics and Posthuman Embodiment by Margrit Shildrick (Bloomsbury, 2022) and Dangerous Giving in Nineteenth-Century American Literature by Alexandra Urakova (Palgrave Macmillan, 2022).

The main focus of the discussion will be on gifts and their real and imaginary dangers as seen through the lens of bioethics and literary history. How can a heart prosthesis – perceived as a gift of life – be ambivalent for both donor and recipient? Why does the new bioethics invite us seeing gifts beyond the modernist paradigm of possession and exchange and how is this vision at once beneficial and hazardous? What makes literature so fascinated with the dangers of giving? How does the notion of dangerous gift challenge the mainstream idea of the gift as pleasing and benign and how does it supplement/reconsider the modernist gift vs commodity binary?

We will discuss these as well as broader questions such as the transformatory relation between the gift and prostheses and the ambiguity of sentimental legacy in our understanding of the gift. The participants of the discussion include:

Margrit Shildrick, Alexandra Urakova, Olli Pyyhtinen, Tuija Pulkkinen, Merja Polvinen, and Soile Ylivuori.

Please fill in this form to confirm your attendance by 21st May 2022 (the Zoom link will be sent to all registered participants of this event):

Margrit Shildrick is Guest Professor of Gender and Knowledge Production at Stockholm University, Adjunct Professor of Critical Disability Studies at York University, Toronto, and Kone Foundation research fellow. Her biophilosophical research covers postmodern feminist and cultural theory, bioethics, critical disability studies and posthumanist body theory. Her many publications include several single-author books as well as edited collections and journal articles.

Alexandra Urakova holds a title of docent in North American Studies at the University of Helsinki and is a Kone Foundation research fellow at the University of Tampere. Her research interests include nineteenth-century American literature, social and cultural history, and anthropology. She is a co-editor of the forthcoming The Dangers of Gifts from Antiquity to the Digital Age (Routledge, 2022).

You can find more information about the books here:

Visceral Prostheses:

Dangerous Giving: