Cryonic suspension (“cryonics”) is the practice of freezing the deceased in hopes that scientists will eventually develop the levels of technology required to facilitate their revival and rejuvenation. By tracing the practice’s ties to transhumanism, this article advances an interpretation of cryonics as a hybrid of religion and technoscience. Scholars have converged on transhumanism’s hybridity; it evinces a transposition of religious themes, e.g., redemption, transcendence, and immortality, into the this-worldly register of technoscience. This hybridity, however, is thoroughly transgressive—it destabilizes the presumptive boundary between “science” and “religion” as purified categories. The practitioners of cryonics inherited this hybridity and, through the act of freezing the deceased, render it concrete. Cryonics destabilizes culturally legitimated definitions of life and death, living and dead, and furthermore comes into conflict with otherwise accepted scientific truths and authorized forms of religiosity. This is all borne out by the fact that cryonics has a tendency to be dually designated, i.e., policed, as both “cult” and “pseudoscience.”

You do not currently have access to this content.