University of Cambridge > > PLACEB-O 'In Conversation' Seminar Series > Transacting knowledge, transplanting organs: collaborative science partnerships in Mongolia

Transacting knowledge, transplanting organs: collaborative science partnerships in Mongolia

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The Mond Seminar Room is in the Mond Building, New Museums Site

In March 2006 the first successful organ transplant was carried out in Mongolia. A middle-aged woman ‘donated’ her kidney to her identical twin. The surgeon who performed the operation is now employed at the Ministry of Health. His office walls are covered in framed certificates and glistening awards that celebrate his achievement.

Since this, several successful transplants have taken place in Mongolia, but always between relatives. Against the 60 or so Mongolians who have paid for transplants in China, but often can’t afford rehabilitation treatment, these people are revered as national heroes. They stand as symbols of the advancement and development of Mongolia as a nation. This paper looks at the biography of a transplant surgeon in Mongolia to explore they ways in which science innovation occurs through different kinds of international collaborations.

At times, flows of knowledge and assistance between collaborators are highlighted in discourses, medical practices, and the formation of legal documents. At other times, collaborations are strategically concealed in order to promote wider political agendas within Mongolia. As collaborations are brought in and out of focus, more general questions come to the fore about the ownership of knowledge and the way collaboration is used as a political resource.

This talk is part of the PLACEB-O 'In Conversation' Seminar Series series.

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