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Margrit Shildrick

About me

I joined Stockholm University in 2018 and am now Guest Professor in Gender and Knowledge Production at ERG, having worked for several years at Tema Genus, the unit for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies at Linköping University. It has been an excellent move that brings me into contact with many inspiring colleagues and some great PhD students, while I pursue my own grant-aided research. I have recently finished a long-term research project in Canada around organ transplantation, and an RJ funded project on prostheses, biotechnologies and the posthuman future of embodiment - which underpins my new book: Visceral Prostheses: Somatechnics and Posthuman Embodiment (2022 Bloomsbury). I am now working on a 3yr collaborative Finish/Russian/UK KONE funded project - The Meanings and Workings of the Gift - which will further explore posthumanism.

Given my varied academic qualifications in literature, bioethics, and poststructuralist and posthumanist philosophy, I am excited by, the challenges and potentials of interdisciplinary critical cultural studies and advanced feminist theory. I’ve held academic posts in the UK, Ireland, Canada, USA, Finland and Australia, and currently I am also Adjunct Professor of Critical Disability Studies at York University, Toronto, Visiting Professor in the Dept. of Law at UTS, Sydney, and Honorary Research Fellow in Philosophy, University of Liverpool.  As a broadly postmodernist scholar (albeit with some critical caution), I am committed to contesting the taken-for-granted grounds and structures of western humanism, and over the years I have taught extensively in gender studies, and in critical disability theory, which is not yet widely recognised within Sweden.

Many of my concerns come together in the Nordic Network for Gender, Body, Health in which I am an executive committee member.

 

Research

Research Interests

My overall interest is in body theory which leads me to:

interdisciplinary gender studies and feminist theory, postconventional bioethics, phenomenology, posthumanities, science and technology studies (STS), critical disability studies (including cripqueer theory and practice), knowledge production within the biosciences, theories of the monstrous, prosthetic theory, psychoanalysis, retheorising women’s health, organ transplantation.

I use both Derrida and Deleuze extensively, as well as the major feminist theorists like Butler and Grosz.

I am involved with several research projects such as PITH (Phenomenology of Incorporating a Transplanted Heart) in Toronto; Queer Death Studies based in Sweden; Living Well with the Dead in Contemporary Ireland based in Cork; Hybrid Bodies art project in Canada and UK; and my own RJ project The Meaning and Significance of Prostheses: Biotechnologies and the Posthuman Future of Embodiment; and now a collaborative KONE project on rethinking the gift.

Books:

- Dangerous Discourses: Subjectivity, Sexuality and Disability (2009 Palgrave Macmillan)

- Embodying the Monster: Encounters with the Vulnerable Self (2002 London: Sage)

- Leaky Bodies and Boundaries: Feminism, Postmodernism and (Bio)ethics (1997 London: Routledge).

Edited collections:

- Theory on the Edge: Irish Studies and the Politics of Sexual Difference – edited with Noreen Giffney (2013 Palgrave Macmillan).

- Ethics of the Body: Postconventional Challenges - edited with Roxanne Mykitiuk (2005 Cambridge, MA: MIT Press)

- Feminist Theory and the Body: A Reader - edited with Janet Price (1999 Edinburgh:  Edinburgh University Press, and New York: Routledge).

- Vital Signs: Feminist Reconfigurations of the Bio/logical Body - edited with Janet Price (1998 Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press).

Most recent journal articles:

- ‘Queering Dementia: Technologies, Visceral Prostheses and Embodiment’, lambda nordica (2021) 26, 2-3: 76-101.

- ‘Introduction: Queering Health and Biomedicine’ NNGBH Collective (Luna Dolezal, Lisa Folkmarson Käll, Donna McCormack, Venla Oikkonen, Margrit Shildrick), lambda nordica (2021) 26, 2-3: 7-18.

- ‘Introduction: Transplantation: Changing Biotechnologies and Imaginaries’, (Donna McCormack and Margrit Shildrick), Medical Humanities (2021) 47, 4: 385-87.

- ‘Hauntological Dimensions of Heart Transplantation: the onto-epistemologies of deceased donation’, Medical Humanities (2020) 47, 4: 388-96.

- ‘Queering the Social Imaginaries of the Dead’, Australian Feminist Studies (2020) 35, 104: 170-185.

- ‘Matters of the Heart: Temporality and Microchimeric Entanglements’ in Tammer El Sheikh (ed.) Entangled Bodies: Art, Identity, Intercorporeality. Vernon Press (2020).

- ‘The Self's Clean and Proper Body’ in Jeffrey Weinstock (ed.) The Monster Theory Reader, Minnesota University Press (2019).

- ‘Body Shock: Unsettling the Biosciences Through Postconventional Materialities’. Somatechnics (2019) 9. 2-3: 206–222.

- ‘Neoliberalism and Embodied Precarity: Some Crip Responses’, South Atlantic Quarterly (2019) 18. 3: 595-613.

- ‘(Micro)chimerism, Immunity and Temporality: Rethinking the Ecology of Life and Death’, Australian Feminist Studies (2019) 34:99, 10-24. [Reprinted in Elizabeth Stephens and Karin Sellberg (eds) (2021) The Somatechnics of Life and Death: Towards a New Feminist Biopolitics. New York: Routledge.]

- ‘Before the Cut: Rethinking Genital Identity’ (with Marie-Louise Holm) in (Re)constructive Surgeries: Making the Gendered Body in a Globalized World, eds. Gabriele Griffin and Malin Jordal.  Routledge (2018).

- ‘Visual Rhetorics and the Seductions of the Monstrous: some precautionary observations’, Somatechnics 8.2 (2018): 163–177.

- ‘Monster Talk: A Virtual Roundtable’ with Mark Bould, Liv Bugge, Surekha Davies, Margrit Shildrick and Jeffrey Weinstock’, ed. Donna McCormack, Somatechnics 8.2 (2018): 248–268

- ‘Re/membering the body’ in A Feminist Companion to the Posthumanities, eds. C. Åsberg and R. Braidotti. Springer (2018): 165-175.

- ‘Messy Entanglements: research assemblages in heart transplantation discourses and practices’, with Andrew Carnie, Alexa Wright et al, J. Medical Humanities (2018) 44: 46–54.

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Research projects

Publications

A selection from Stockholm University publication database

  • (Micro)chimerism, Immunity and Temporality

    2019. Margrit Shildrick. Australian feminist studies (Print) 34 (99), 10-24

    Article

    The recent upsurge of interest in the co-articulation of biopolitical and bioethical entanglements underpin both a concern for the putatively temporal thresholds of human life and the very conception of a bounded humanity itself. Taking a step further, I want to suggest that micro(chimerism) as a very specific form of somatic multiplicity, read together with the contemporary rethinking of the concept of immunity, instantiates a fundamental disordering of linear temporality. And that in turn calls for a further reconceptualisation of conventional bioethics. I acknowledge the force of an existing postmodernist bioethics that has attended to the materiality and viscerality of the body and challenged the meaning of human being but, until recently, it has not addressed the bookends of life and death. Once the teleology of the life course is contested, however, death is no longer an insult to being, but merely one event constituting an ongoing vitalism. I propose an atemporal bioethics of coexistence rather than one of successive existence that is faced always with its own finitude.

    Read more about (Micro)chimerism, Immunity and Temporality
  • Body Shock

    2019. Margrit Shildrick. Somatechnics 9 (2), 206-222

    Article

    The focus of this article is the problematic of data in the life sciences with regard to the supposedly singular event of heart transplantation. In mainstream discourse, organ transplantation is seen as a straightforward exchange of body parts in which fatally deteriorating biological elements are replaced by more competent and enduring components. Post-transplant a variety of biological, immunological, and pharmaceutical data are collected and evaluated, with the success of the operation gauged against the clinical recovery of the recipient as determined by those measures. That simple picture fails to attend, however, to issues such as the historicocultural context of the biomedical procedure, temporality, the phenomenological sense of self, the psycho-social imaginary, and even disregarded biological dimensions such as cellular microchimerism, all of which can deeply unsettle biomedical certainty. Drawing on my own participation in collaborative research, I rethink what counts as data and demonstrate the need to interweave multiple forms of knowledge in a data assemblage that mobilises new insights into the significance of transplantation and concorporeality.

    Read more about Body Shock
  • Visual Rhetorics and the Seductions of the Monstrous

    2018. Margrit Shildrick. Somatechnics 8 (2), 163-177

    Article

    What does it mean to look at the monstrous? For many people, monstrous embodiment in its many forms arouses discomfort that is more or less successfully managed through the medium of our differential senses. While the creation of an interval between self and other through sight and representation allows for a reassuring self-security, there is also the sense of a certain destabilising 'yuk' factor present. Yet, our persistent fascination with the monstrous speaks to a profound longing that may manifest not just in curiosity about the strange, but as a form of desire. In critical cultural studies, the complications of Freudian and Lacanian desire clearly provide a platform for understanding the seductiveness of the monstrous, but are now more often surpassed by the celebration of a reconfigured and wholly positive desire in its Deleuzian sense. At the same time our longing for the monstrous denotes a desire for the grasp of knowledge and for the domestication of anomaly. As such I want to expand on the familiar uneasiness that showing images of the monstrous potentially provokes and its putative encouragement of an undoubted voyeurism, to engage instead with a Derridean exhortation to preserve the strangeness, and with an reparative reading through Deleuze that offers reasons to be hopeful.

    Read more about Visual Rhetorics and the Seductions of the Monstrous

Show all publications by Margrit Shildrick at Stockholm University