Features

What is a Family? Refugee DNA and the Possible Truths of Kinship

Tashi thought they were his kids. They were his kids. He was the only father they had ever known. He had been their father since the day each of his four children was born. After being recognized as a Convention Refugee in Canada, he applied for permanent residence and listed his wife and children as his “overseas dependents” on his …

Web Roundups

Web Roundup: Biohacking, BioArt, and other Playful Abominations

These days, it is fun to “hack” almost everything. You can hack your life, you can hack your home, and you can even hack your period. So, as the web continues to grow more material on synthetic biology, let us turn once again to the world of biohacking.

A particularly interesting piece considers the possibility of …

Books

Hallam Stevens’ Life Out of Sequence

Stevens - CoverLife Out of Sequence: A Data-driven History of Bioinformatics

by Hallam Stevens

The University of Chicago Press, 2013. 294 pages.

 

Life Out of Sequence is a lucid ethnographic and historical account of how computational tools changed how biologists think about and engage with living systems. In it, Hallam Stevens tells a captivating story about how genes and genomes become …

Books

Jonathan Xavier Inda’s Racial Prescriptions

PPCspine22mmRacial Prescriptions: Pharmaceuticals, Difference, and the Politics of Life

by Jonathan Xavier Inda

Ashgate, 2014, 148 pages.

 

Racial Prescriptions provides an eloquent and theoretically-engaged account of the story of BiDil, a pharmaceutical that has become an iconic case for scholars of race in science and medicine. When BiDil was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in …

Books

Duana Fullwiley’s The Enculturated Gene

k9613-1The Enculturated Gene:
Sickle Cell Health Politics and Biological Difference in West Africa

by Duana Fullwiley

Princeton University Press, 2011. 368 pp.

 

What is the role of cultural analysis in confronting genetic phenomena? Over the past few decades, cultural anthropologists have striven to contest or hold at bay genetic explanations for race, gender, and sexuality. Their analytical approach was …

Features

Remaking Local Biologies in an Epigenetic Time

Premise and Summary

This is a very provisional text,[1] part of a broader book-length research (forthcoming from Palgrave in 2015) on ‘political epistemology’, a construct I use to investigate the coproduction of epistemological facts and socio-political values in the history of the life-sciences (e.g.: how certain views of heredity, development, nature/nurture potentially favor certain political values and …