Becoming a virgin: bodies, technologies and transcultural geographies of the reconstruction of the hymen Duration: October 2016 - September 2018 The red ribbon around the bride's waist indicates the body's physical virginity (Photo: Elisabeth Militz, 2011) “Virginity is more important to me than life,” quotes The New York Times a 23-year old woman in an article featuring the practice of hymen reconstruction in Europe. The woman was about to experience a hymenorrhaphy, the surgical restoration of the hymen, in order to regain bodily virginity. Revirgination procedures retighten the vaginal opening to restore its physical condition prior to sexual intercourse. Medical practitioners across the globe perform hymenorrhaphy. Yet, the practice of hymen repair is culturally specific. On the one hand, medical practitioners and feminist scholars argue that technologies to restore the hymen open possibilities for sexual liberation. On the other hand, practitioners as well as scholars contend that medically unnecessary interventions such as hymenorrhaphy sustain social norms that deny women the right to decide upon their own sexual practices. In doing so, scholarly debate constructs hymen repair as isolated and exotic experience and neglects the geographical dimensions constituting sexualized bodies and the phenomenon of revirgination. Hypothesizing that hymen repair emerges as a transcultural phenomenon that reproduces female virginity as a global commodity, this research project explores how technologies of hymenorrhaphy produce corporeal geographies, putting sexualized organs and bodies into circulation as commodities in the global reproductive economy. In line with materialist and more-than-human advancements in cultural geography, the empirical data will be drawn from ethnographic studies in Azerbaijan complemented with material on revirgination practices in Turkey and Western Europe. As part of an emerging transnational study, practitioners and patients will be contacted for narrative interviews in Switzerland, Germany, Turkey and Azerbaijan in addition to an online research in social media outlets.  Anonymous woman quoted in E. Sciolino and S. Mekhennet, ‘In Europe, Debate Over Islam and Virginity’, The New York Times, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/11/world/europe/11virgin.html.