Synopses & Reviews
Why has Egypt, a pioneer of organ transplantation, been reluctant to pass a national organ transplant law for more than three decades? This book analyzes the national debate over organ transplantation in Egypt as it has unfolded during a time of major social and political transformationand#151;including mounting dissent against a brutal regime, the privatization of health care, advances in science, the growing gap between rich and poor, and the Islamic revival. Sherine Hamdy recasts bioethics as a necessarily political project as she traces the moral positions of patients in need of new tissues and organs, doctors uncertain about whether transplantation is a and#147;goodand#8221; medical or religious practice, and Islamic scholars. Her richly narrated study delves into topics including current definitions of brain death, the authority of Islamic fatwas, reports about the mismanagement of toxic waste predisposing the poor to organ failure, the Egyptian black market in organs, and more. Incorporating insights from a range of disciplines, Our Bodies Belong to God sheds new light on contemporary Islamic thought, while challenging the presumed divide between religion and science, and between ethics and politics.
"A meticulously developed thesis. . . . [Hamdy's] studyand#160;deserves to be widely read by students of theology, culture, and ethics."
"Hamdy offers a dense, cogent, and rewarding read of the struggles faced by Egyptians determined to make digni?ed decisions about transplantation."
"An ethnography that is valuable, humane and committed and#8211; to Hamdy'sand#160; informants and subject matter, to her audiences in the West as well as readers in Egypt and the Muslim world."
"Based on extensive research in Egypt, this powerful, deeply disturbing ethnography causes readers to question commonly held assumptions about the organ transplant enterprise. Hamdy, acutely sensitive to the destructive forces of extreme poverty, argues against an ethics of codified rules whether religious or secular, and for a flexible bioethics situated in the historical, socio/economic and religious realities of Egyptians' daily life."--Margaret Lock, co-author of An Anthropology of Biomedicine
and#147;This is the best ethnography yet available on Islamic ethical reasoning and medical practice. Hamdy presents a truly sophisticated and nuanced portrayal of the organ transplant debate in Egypt and its larger implications for the Middle East and medicine.and#8221; --John Bowen, author of A New Anthropology of Islam
and#147;Our Bodies Belong to God is a sensitive and original exploration of how religious ethics inform the practice of medicine for doctors, patients and policy makers alike. This will be read widely in medical anthropology and the field of ethics.and#8221; --Saba Mahmood, author of Politics of Piety: The Islamic Revival and the Feminist Subject
About the Author
Sherine Hamdy is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Brown University.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Note on Confidentiality and Photography
Note on Transliteration
Introduction: Bioethics Rebound
1. Egyptand#8217;s Crises of Authority
2. Defining Death: When the Experts Disagree
3. From Secret to Scandal: Corneas, Dead Donors, and Egyptand#8217;s Blind
4. Shaykh of the People: Genealogy of an Utterance
5. Transplanting Godand#8217;s Property: The Ethics of Scale
6. Only One Kidney to Give: Ethics and Risk
7. Principles We Canand#8217;t Afford? Ethics and Pragmatism in Kidney Sales
Conclusions: Where Cyborgs Meet God
Epilogue: The Ongoing Struggle for Human Dignity
Glossary of Frequently Used Arabic Terms