Genetic Crossroads

The intersection of biotechnology, reproduction and society

Talking Biopolitics is Back!

Join the Center for Genetics and Society's webinars with cutting edge thinkers

Talking Biopolitics began in 2011 with webinars on synthetic biology and assisted reproductive technologies. It continued in 2012 with interviews of Bill McKibben, Dorothy Roberts, and Harriet Washington. We are excited to announce that Talking Biopolitics is back for 2013, featuring conversations with Miriam Zoll, George Estreich, Ruha Benjamin, and Donna Dickenson that are open and free for everyone.

Each of these cutting-edge thinkers has recently published a book that engages with different facets of the challenges raised by human biotechnologies. They  address provocative questions about assisted reproduction, personalized medicine, prenatal gene sequencing, stem cell research, and much more. Their work provides invaluable insights into the new biopolitics we need.

The 2013 series kicks off on May 21 with a live web interview by the Center for Genetics and Society’s Associate Executive Director Diane Tober of Miriam Zoll, award-winning writer and international public health and reproductive rights advocate. Miriam’s new book, Cracked Open: Liberty, Fertility and the Pursuit of High Tech Babies, gives a moving and unblinking account of the emotional anguish, health complications, ethical quandaries and financial costs of her own fertility journey. She also delivers vital insights into the consequences of our failure to adequately understand and regulate the business of assisted reproduction. Find more information and RSVP here.

The second event on June 3 features George Estreich, who will be interviewed by the Longmore Institute on Disability’s Emily Beitiks. George’s book, The Shape of the Eye: A Memoir, is an award-winning account of his family and life with daughter Laura, who has Down syndrome. He asks how the new non-invasive fetal gene tests are affecting women’s experiences of pregnancy and childbearing, and how they might change our personal and social feelings about disabilities such as Down syndrome. The Shape of the Eye is a powerful and moving contemplation of what it means to be human and what it means to be different. Find more information and RSVP here.

In the third event on June 25, CGS Executive Director Marcy Darnovsky interviews Ruha Benjamin, assistant professor of Sociology and African American studies at Boston University. Ruha’s new book, People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier, delves into stem cell research, arguing that public engagement must be considered in controversial scientific advances. She particularly advocates for the voices of people with disabilities, African Americans, and women, showing that citizens have the power to influence science, and not merely the other way around. Find more information and RSVP here.

On July 16, we hear from author, activist and scholar Donna Dickenson, interviewed by Osagie Obasogie, Senior Fellow at CGS and Associate Professor of Law at the University of California, Hastings. Donna’s new book, Me Medicine vs. We Medicine: Reclaiming Biotechnology for the Common Good, is an essential read for anyone trying to make sense of personalized medicine. She makes a powerful case for taming "me-centeredness" and market domination of medicine, and for renewing our commitments to public health and the common good. Find more information and RSVP here.

Looking forward to the conversations!

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Jessica Cussins is a researcher at the Center for Genetics and Society.

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