Bioethics Blogs

Summer Roundup: Forums by Deanna Day

Now that the academic year is in full swing, we thought it would be a great time to do a roundup of the work that you may have missed on Somatosphere over the summer. Each Friday for the next few weeks we will highlight a new collection of pieces, beginning today with a set of Forums (four for books and one for a documentary film) that draw together commentary about postcolonialism, pandemics, structural violence and care, the politics of expertise, and how we craft intentional and unintentional narratives of what it all means.


Book Forum: Lisa Stevenson’s Life Beside Itself: Imagining Care in the Canadian Arctic

This forum includes commentary from Zoë Wool, Audra Simpson, S. Lochlann Jain, Angela Garcia, and Anne Allison, along with a response from Lisa Stevenson.

“It is also a book full of questions, questions that open to possibilities rather than answers. The foreclosure of an answer seems almost antithetical to the kind of knowing—a knowing inextricable from feeling and dreaming and seeing with inner and outer eyes—that we are invited to join in here… It is a kind of knowing that means “desir[ing] an image, rather than a fact” (39). It is a knowing beyond the grasp of post-colonial forms of biopolitical knowledge that govern nothing more than Inuit life and death themselves across two moments of the chronic crisis of Inuit mortality identified by the Canadian state: tuberculosis in the mid 20th century, and suicide in the 21st. Such knowledge, bound to facts and populations, to vital and mortal statistics of aggregates and generic individuals, enacts the violence of a kind of procrustean governance, slicing away the extensions of a life that reach beyond life itself so as to tuck an anonymized Inuit body snugly into bed, or grave, or, as was the case for many tubercular Inuit evacuated to southern sanitariums, first one, and then the other.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.