Talking Biopolitics: Conversations with Cutting-Edge Thinkers

Talking Biopolitics is a series of live web-based conversations with cutting-edge thinkers about the social meaning of human biotechnologies. We ask questions – and take yours – about how we can put our vision of a new biopolitics on the public radar.

Links to more information about upcoming webcast, and to complete versions of 2011, 20122013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Talking Biopolitics webcast, are available here.

Talking Biopolitics 2016

Virginia Espino, Renee Tajima-Peña and Alexandra Minna Stern.
March 2

Espino, Tajima-Pena

Renee Tajima-Peña and Virginia Espino, director and producer of the documentary No Más Bebés, talk about their film, their research and California's history of sterilization with Alexandra Stern. more

Photo of Alexandra Minna Stern

Paul Knoepfler and Nathaniel Comfort
January 26

Photo of Paul Knoepfler Paul Knoepfler, stem cell researcher, blogger, and author of the just-released GMO Sapiens: The Life-Changing Science of Designer Babies, will talk about the book and the issues it raises with Nathaniel Comfort, Professor in the Department of the History of Medicine at John Hopkins School of Medicine. more Photo of Nathaniel Comfort

Talking Biopolitics 2015

Rob Wilson and Milton Reynolds
November 19

Photo of Rob Wilson

Rob Wilson, co-director of the just-released documentary Surviving Eugenics, will talk about the film and its implications with Milton Reynoldsof Facing History and Ourselves  more

Photo of Milton Reynolds

George Annas and Lisa Ikemoto
October 7

Photo of George Annas

In this installment of Talking Biopolitics, CGS fellow Lisa Ikemoto interviewed George Annas about his latest book, Genomic Messages: How the Evolving Science of Genetics Affects Our Health, Families, and Futuremore

Photo of Lisa Ikemoto

Aaron Panofsky and Osagie K. Obasogie
April 30

Photo of Aaron Panofsky In this live online conversation, Osagie Obasogie interviewed Aaron Panfosky about his new book, Misbehaving Science: Controversy and the Development of Behavior Genetics.... more Photo of Osagie K. Obasogie

Nathaniel Comfort and Alexandra Minna Stern
February 27

Photo of Nathaniel Comfort This discussion featured Nathaniel Comfort and Alexandra Minna Stern talking about the history and future of human genetics and eugenics. ... more Photo of Alexandra Minna Stern

Talking Biopolitics 2014

Dorothy Roberts and Jonathan Marks discuss the Wade episode
November 12

Photo of Dorothy Roberts Dorothy and Jonathan assessed the reception of Nicholas Wade's controversial book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History... more Photo of Jonathan Marks

Charis Thompson interviewed by David Winickoff
October 2

Photo of Charis Thompson Charis and David discussed her new book Good Science: The Ethical Choreography of Stem Cell Research... more Photo of David Winickoff

Talking Biopolitics 2013

Alexandra Minna Stern and Corey G. Johnson interviewed by Marcy Darnovsky
November 14

Photo of Alexandra Minna and Corey G. Johnson Alexandra and Corey will discuss their important work on current and past sterilization abuse in California... more  

Regan Brashear interviewed by Gina Maranto
October 3

Photo of Regan Brashear Regan discussed her soon-to-be-released documentary FIXED: The Science/Fiction of Human Enhancement... more  

Donna Dickenson interviewed by Osagie Obasogie
July 16

Photo of Donna Dickenson Donna discussed her efforts to make sense of the grand claims for personalized medicine, as described in Me Medicine vs. We Medicine: Reclaiming Biotechnology for the Common Good... more  

Ruha Benjamin interviewed by Marcy Darnovsky
June 25

Photo of Ruha Benjamin Ruha discussed her experiences writing and promoting People's Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier... more  

George Estreich interviewed by Emily Beitiks
June 3

Photo of George Estreich George discussed The Shape of the Eye: A Memoir, and his thoughts on the disability rights implications of new prenatal gene tests... more  

Miriam Zoll interviewed by Diane Tober
May 21

Photo of Miriam Zoll Miriam discussed her experience 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 ... more  

Talking Biopolitics 2012

Harriet Washington interviewed by Lisa Ikemoto
May 8

Harriet discussed her experiences writing and talking about the increasingly powerful “medical-industrial complex,” the erosion of informed consent in biomedical research, and the ways that commercial dynamics have aggravated issues of distributive and social justice. She also describes the resistance she has encountered when writing about these topics, especially in response to her recently published book Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself--And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future. She addressed opportunities for scholars to engage more directly in communicating their ideas to broader audiences and the difficulties they may face in “going public.” And she pressed the case she makes in Deadly Monopolies for what Osagie Obasogie called, in a review of the book “a broader political consciousness of science and technology.

Photo of Miriam Zoll

Dorothy Roberts interviewed by David Winickoff
April 10

The resurgence of race as biological concept is one of the most pressing social justice challenges raised by recent developments in genetic science and technologies. Dorothy Roberts, noted professor of law at Northwestern University,  discusses her efforts to communicate this trend, and to place it within broad social and political contexts in the United States, in her recently published book Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century. Dorothy is interviewed by UC Berkeley associate professor of bioethics David Winickoff.

Photo of Dorothy Roberts

Bill McKibben interviewed by Marcy Darnovsky
March 2

Environmental activist and author Bill McKibben talks about why he wrote Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age (2003), how it was received, and what this experience might tell us about communicating and organizing in support of practices and policies addressing human biotechnology, both domestically and internationally. Bill also shares his thoughts about ways in which the issues of climate change and human biotech can be understood as facets of a single dynamic involving the technological manipulation and transformation of the natural world, including plants, animals, humans and ecosystems. Bill is interviewed by Center for Genetics and Society associate executive director Marcy Darnovsky.

Photo of Bill McKibben

To view the webinars on synthetic biology and assisted reproductive technologies, first open the visual presentation in a new browser window or tab by clicking on the PDF icon. Return to this window and click on the audio icon. Then go to the visual presentation and follow as the speaker indicates the slide being referred to. 

Talking Biopolitics 2011

Synthetic Biology 101: What is it, why should we care and what can we do about it?
Thursday July 14, 2011

This webinar analyzes current developments in the field of synthetic biology. Jaydee Hanson discusses the types of research actually being conducted under the wide umbrella of “synthetic biology,” Eric Hoffman focuses on their social and health implications, and Tina Stevens talks about the need for grassroots action to confront their risks.

Presenters: Jaydee Hanson, International Center for Technology Assessment; Eric Hoffman, Friends of the Earth; Tina Stevens, Alliance for Humane Biotechnology


Assisted Reproductive Technologies: Current scientific, marketing and political developments, and what is to be done
Thursday, June 23, 2011

This webinar discusses the current scientific, marketing and political developments related to assisted reproductive technologies, including new methods of prenatal genetic testing, sex selection, commercial surrogacy, third-party egg and sperm providers, and embryonic stem cell research. Susan Fogel focuses on practices and policies that raise questions, concerns, or possibilities from a reproductive justice perspective.

Presenter: Susan Berke Fogel, Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research