Jenny Reardon, “The Postgenomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, Knowledge After the Genome”

Event time: 
Thursday, May 1, 2014 - 4:00pm
Auditorium, Whitney Humanities Center See map
53 Wall Street
New Haven, CT
Event description: 

Jenny Reardon is an Associate Professor of Sociology and Faculty Affiliate in the Center for Biomolecular Science and Engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Talk abstract: While assembling the 3 billion nucleotide sequence of the human genome into machine-readable form might have been a tremendous technical feat, it left unanswered the fundamental question: what does the sequence mean?  In the decade after the Human Genome Project, this turn to the question of meaning—the question of the uses, significance and values of the human genome sequence—marks what I call the postgenomic condition.  This talk explores how in the wake of few biomedical breakthroughs, human genomics continued to generate hope through promises to generate a more just world.  It focuses on the emergence of this strategy in efforts to recruit African Americans into human genomic research at the turn of the millennium. Based in fieldwork at the U.S. National Institutes of Health and historically black universities and colleges, this talk explores the opportunities, but also the problems for ethics, justice, and knowledge these efforts posed.  It ends with reflections on what this turn to justice in human genomics reveals about the contemporary conditions of knowledge and politics.