Reardon gives talk on The Post-Genomic Condition at UCSF

Dr. Jenny Reardon, University of California, Santa Cruz, Director, Science & Justice Research Center (UCSC) presents “The Post-Genomic Condition: Ethics, Justice, Knowledge After the Genome” at the SBS Seminar Series at UCSF.

Once an area of science oriented around close observation, attention and description—where new technologies like computers were at best an aid, and at worst shunned—today the life sciences are a hub of technological innovation. Genomics is emblematic. The field orients around a series of impressive innovations that offer great new promise but also present a fundamental problem, the problem of the post: what come after? What is the latest and greatest technology this month becomes passé the next: Affymetrix SNP chip 6.0 today, Ion Torrent’s Ion chip tomorrow. Getting caught with the wrong set of machines, on the wrong platform, is a constant concern. Nothing endures; all is in-formation.

Without endurance, Hannah Arendt argued fifty years ago in The Human Condition, the world loses common objects. Without common objects nothing sticks around long enough for democratic deliberation or knowledge-making. Informed decisions become things of the past. The proverbial table around which we gather to deliberate and understand are lost along with the objects that used to sit on the table. We now live in this postgenomic condition, after objects, after democracy, in-formation. How can we know and how can we govern in this state? The talk draws upon a decade of fieldwork focused on meaning-making and governance practices in genomics in order to consider this question that lies at the heart of the postgenomic condition.

Monday, February 10, 2014 | 3:30 – 5:00| Laurel Heights Campus, Room 474, UCSF

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