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About Arts, Culture & Human Biotechnology


Mention genetic technologies or human enhancement to the average person, and more likely than not their first response will reference the 1997 film Gattaca or Aldous Huxley's 1932 classic, Brave New World. Art and popular culture profoundly influence how we think about ourselves and each other, and portrayals of human biotechnologies are likely to affect how we think about future social arrangements. Ultimately this can shape the policy decisions we make today.

The social meanings of human biotechnologies have been pondered in film, television shows, painting, and other visual arts; in speculative fiction, novels, and children's books, and other literature; in performance and experiential art; and even in a project that produced a living rabbit engineered to glow in the dark.



Orphan Black emphasizes the science in its sci-fi with a disturbing chapter on eugenicsby Caroline FramkeVoxMay 15th, 2016TV show tackles the personal, scientific, and societal implications of eugenics, gene editing, and germline engineering.
Human Experimentation: Rethinking The 'Bad Old Days'by Barron LernerForbesApril 19th, 2016The horrors in our medical past require that we not brush them aside as just wrong but that we look hard at why they happened.
Dinosaurs are Extinct, but Normalization is Alive and Wellby Emily Beitiks, Biopolitical Times guest contributorMarch 22nd, 2016While the disability movement is pushing us away from the reductive concept of "normal", dinosaur education for our kids lags behind.
CRISPR Eugenics in The X Filesby Elliot HosmanMarch 10th, 2016In the comeback season finale, the show explores the use of human gene editing to combat global warming and overpopulation.
'Idiocracy' Is One of the Most Elitist and Anti-Social Movies Ever—Why Do Liberals Love Referencing It?by Adam JohnsonAlterNetMarch 4th, 2016"The pro-eugenics 2006 film finds a home with confused liberals who would rather blame bad breeding than structural classism and racism."
CRISPR patent belongs to aliensby Sara ReardonNatureFebruary 29th, 2016Returning with a new season after over a decade, The X Files uses technologies like CRISPR gene editing to tell stories at the intersection of science, politics, and conspiracy theories.
We need to talk about egg freezingby Eva WisemanThe GuardianFebruary 7th, 2016It’s expensive, frustrating and can be traumatic. As more and more women make the choice to freeze their eggs, do they know exactly what they’re getting into?
‘Races of Mankind’ Sculptures, Long Exiled, Return to Display at Chicago’s Field Museumby Jennifer SchuesslerThe New York TimesJanuary 20th, 2016The bronzes, unveiled in 1933 as "the finest racial portraiture the world has yet seen," were banished to storage in 1969 as relics of discredited ideas about human difference.
Jordan Middle School, other schools now up for renamingby Elena KadvanyPalo Alto WeeklyJanuary 13th, 2016Middle school students and their parents are objecting to their school being named for Stanford University founding president David Starr Jordan, because of his involvement in the eugenics movement.
Whiteness and “Making a Murderer”: Manitowoc, the “One-Branch Family Tree” and the Sinister Race Science of “Degenerate Whites”by Kate TuttleSalonJanuary 7th, 2016The Avery clan’s reputation as "trouble" echoes myths planted by inane, racist eugenicists in the early 1900s.
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