Gender and the Human Body

Academic Year: 
Start and end dates: 
January 12, 2015
Course Description: 

At the beginning of the twenty-first century the uses of the human body, its organs, tissues and cells are increasingly diversified. One can observe the worldwide presence of old uses and misuses of the human body, such as prostitution, organ trafficking, human trafficking but more and more also new forms of commodification, such as surrogacy and the sale of eggs. In biomedical research, in stem-cell research, and in assisted reproduction, the human body is asked to fulfill various scientific and commercial purposes ranging from essential life-saving treatments to aesthetic enhancement. Reflecting on these complex phenomena, this course will apply human-rights and gender-studies approaches to analyze academic texts and judicial cases on the commodification and commercialization of the human body in biobanks, tissue- and organ donation, biotechnological inventions, organ and egg trade, organ trafficking and tourism, and trafficking of women. These topics will provide a rich repertoire of social and legal questions for the lectures, seminars and film sessions during the winter semester.