Symposium: "Science, Identity, and Ethnicity"

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Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138

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Science, Identity, and Ethnicity:

States and Citizens in Global Knowledge Regimes

a two-day interdisciplinary symposium

with keynote speaker Nadia Abu El-Haj (Barnard College & Columbia University)

free and open to the public

April 24-25, 2014

Organizers: Elise K. Burton (PhD Candidate, Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard) and Ian V. McGonigle (Visiting Fellow, Program on Science, Technology, and Society, Harvard Kennedy School of Government)

With recent advances in the biosciences, such as second-generation genomic sequencing, advanced techniques in assisted conception, and the prediction of inheritable diseases, many aspects of individual identities— from ethnicity to genealogy to disease susceptibility— have been problematized. DNA is now being “read” by scientists to articulate a molecular basis for many historical and social phenomena, such as individuals’ membership in ethnic or national groups, as well as renewing older concerns about social control of populations through genetics. But what do these new kinds of genetic readings do for states and their citizens? To what extent have the genetic sciences expanded or circumscribed the ways of authorizing ethnic and national belonging? How has research in population genetics and human biogeography affected legal and political rights to citizenship, and territorial disputes? Are biological sciences, technologies, and society entangled to the point of being co-produced, and if so in what ways? This symposium tackles these questions from a global perspective, with the hope of fostering dialogue across disciplinary divides and geographical regions.

Thursday, April 24, 5-7pm

William James Hall 1550

5.00-5.15pm Welcome: Elise Burton and Ian McGonigle

5.15-7.00 Roundtable Discussion: Disciplinary Perspectives on Science, Ethnicity, and Identity

Chair: Elise Burton, PhD Candidate in History & Middle Eastern Studies, Harvard

History of Science: Everett Mendelsohn, Emeritus Professor of History of Science, Harvard University

Gender Studies: Sarah Richardson, Assistant Professor of History of Science and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard

Government: Ofrit Liviatan, Lecturer of Government, Harvard

Anthropology: Ian McGonigle, PhD Candidate in Anthropology, University of Chicago

Sociology: Trina Vithayathil, PhD Candidate in Sociology, Brown University

Science & Technology Studies: Sheila Jasanoff, Harvard Kennedy School

7.00-8.30 Dinner for Invited Speakers

Friday, April 25, 9am-5pm

Belfer Case Study Room, CGIS South S-020

9.00 am Continental breakfast

9.30-9.45 Welcome and Introduction: Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School

9.45-11:45 Panel I: Law, Governance, and the Science of Identity

Jennifer Hochschild, Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African-American Studies, Harvard: “African-American Views of DNA Ancestry Testing”

Susan Greenhalgh, John King and Wilma Cannon Fairbank Professor of Chinese Society and Professor of Anthropology, Harvard:Biogovernance in the Making of Global China

Jonathan Kahn, Professor, Hamline University School of Law: “Race, Law and Neuroscience”

Discussant: Stephen Hilgartner, Associate Professor and Chair of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University

11:45-12:45 Catered lunch for registered attendees

12:45-2.45 Panel II: Scientific Practice and Social Relations

Ajantha Subramanian, Professor of Anthropology, Harvard: “Meritocracy and the Resurgence of Race and Caste in Indian Technical Education”

Karen-Sue Taussig, Professor of Anthropology, University of Minnesota:Science, Salvation, and Citizenship: Building Social Relations for a Molecular Medical Future”

Ruha Benjamin, Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies, Boston University: “Can the Subaltern Genome Code?”

Discussant: Sheila Jasanoff, Pforzheimer Professor of Science and Technology Studies, Harvard Kennedy School

2.45-3:00 Coffee break

3:00-4:00 Keynote: Nadia Abu El-Haj, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Barnard College & Columbia University: "The Nature of Politics"

4.00-4.50 Q&A and Discussion, moderated by Susan Kahn, Associate Director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and Lecturer in Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, Harvard

4.50-5.00 Closing comments: Elise Burton and Ian McGonigle

Sponsored by:

Program on Science, Technology and Society at the Kennedy School of Government; Weatherhead Center for International Affairs; Committee on African Studies; Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Department of Anthropology; Department of African and African-American Studies; Department of the History of Science

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Harvard University

Cambridge, MA 02138

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