South Asia

Organized Panel Session

5 - Imagined Places: Geographies in Affective Entanglements Among Kidney Donors and Recipients in India

Friday, July 6
8:30 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Marigold, New Building

Transplant technologies have profoundly disturbed the bounded integrity of the material body, resulting in the reordering of interpersonal spaces. Based on ethnographic research conducted among living kidney donors and recipients in India, I argue that affectual entanglements between kins find a new medium of expression in the corporeal exchange of organs, where ‘others’ are implicated in the continuance of the ‘self’ that go further than the blurring of the visceral interior, giving rise to new emotional and physiological states of intense connectedness While these experiences are by and large perceived, by both donors and recipients, as an intensification of the bonds of love, the suddenness, and novelty of these feelings are often also unsettling for some. In such instances, these emotions are made sense of through unconventional methods such as past life regression therapy, that allows individuals, under hypnosis, to traverse through their earlier lives in search of answers to dilemmas of the present. These movements in time also necessarily entail a movement in space or over geographies, which at times bears resemblance to ‘real’ places. In my paper, I will examine how these imagined geographies, experienced in an induced trance-like state, are then retrospectively woven into the narratives of their disease, the transplant, and reconfigurations of the ‘self’. I will further extrapolate the means through which physiological and psychical states are interlocked in a unique experience of ‘time’ and ‘place’ around the event of a kidney transplant. 

Sinjini Mukherjee

University of Heidelberg, India

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