Resisting Death, Reconfiguring Life: Investigating Cryopreservation Practices in Contemporary Societies

Prof. Dr. Thomas Lemke's lecture explores the crucial role of cryopreservation in affecting temporalities and the concept of life. Cryopreservation practices are an essential dimension of contemporary life sciences. They make possible the freezing and storage of cells, tissues and other organic materials at very low temperatures and the subsequent thawing of these at a future date without apparent loss of vitality.

The talk explains premises and central ideas of a recently funded ERC
Advanced Grant. It is based on the thesis that in contemporary societies,
cryopreservation practices bring into existence a new form of life: “suspended
life”. “Suspended life” enables vital processes to be kept in a liminal state in
which biological substances are neither fully alive nor dead. I will examine how
“suspended life” is assembled, negotiated, mobilised, and practiced by
exploring three distinctive fields of investigation and sites of cryobanking: cord
blood storage to prepare for possible regenerative therapies in the future;
oocyte freezing to extend fertility and rearrange reproductive futures and the
cryopreservation of endangered or extinct species with the prospect of “bringing
them back to life” by employing reproductive and genetic technologies.

15. 10. 2018, 17:00
Venue: Room H014, Hollar Building, Smetanovo nábřeží 6,
Praha 1
The lecture will be followed by a workshop.

Department of Sociology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Charles
University, and prof. Thomas Lemke (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt
am Main), cordially invite you to participate in a discussion workshop
on cryopolitics and cryopreservation practices in today’s world.
The workshop will have a discussion format. Participants will be
asked to read three additional papers related to prof. Lemke’s lecture.
To participate in a workshop, please register by email to Ema
Hresanova ( until 5th October 2018.

16. 10. 2018, 10:00-12:00
Venue: Room 3019, Jinonice, U Kříže 8, Praha 5

Thomas Lemke is Professor of Sociology with focus on Biotechnologies,
Nature and Society at the Faculty of Social Sciences of the Goethe-University
Frankfurt/Main in Germany, and Honorary Professor at the University of New
South Wales, Sydney. His research interests include social and political
theory, biopolitics, new materialisms, studies of genetic and reproductive