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Bodies in time(s): Intersex Embodiment and the Logic of Emergency – a SCuLE talk

On 16 May 2019, SCuLE arranged a talk and discussion led by Mitchell Travis on his paper and the impact academic research can have on governmental policy. 

Whilst Mitch is now based in the Law School at the University of Leeds, focusing on law and social justice, many at the Law School still know Mitch from his time here in Exeter. His interests include legal personhood, embodiment, intersexuality and professional legal ethics, and the presented paper touched upon all of these aspects.

For this SCuLE talk, Mitch presented research conducted with Dr Fae Garland, also a former Exeter Law School academic, now based at the University of Manchester. In this work, they consider the ways in which time dictates the governing logics of healthcare and law. In particular, intersex embodiment is used to exemplify the logic of emergency that is used to justify non-therapeutic medical interventions whilst also limiting the amount of regulatory oversight that can be conducted to a broad alignment with often unclear ‘professional norms’.

Further, Mitch also reflected on recent prohibitions of such interventions in Malta and Portugal in order to consider the notion of ‘deferability’ as a concept of growing importance in healthcare jurisprudence and the ways in which it enshrines an ‘emergent’ rather than static concept of embodiment.

After the formal talk, SCuLE members and Mitch continued the discussion over drinks and dinner at the Exe on the Mill.