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Lecture: Can the Subaltern Genome Code?

Thursday, September 29, 2016, at 3:30pm
Crosby Seminar Room, 240 Northrop
Friday, September 30, 9am-12pm: Workshop

Free and open to the public

This talk examines the relationship between scientific innovation and social inequity. Drawing on work that investigates how racial and caste distinctions shape genomic science in Mexico, South Africa, India, and the US, I argue that it is the epistemic and normative dexterity of the field — not its strict enforcement of social hierarchy — that makes it powerful, problematic and, for some, profitable. Linking this insight to a range of contemporary issues at the nexus of data and democracy, my aim is to expand our collective imagination around what counts as relevant and meaningful to scholarly work and political debate in this arena.

Ruha Benjamin is Assistant Professor in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University specializing in the interdisciplinary study of science, medicine, and biotechnology, race-ethnicity and gender, health and biopolitics. She is the author of People’s Science: Bodies and Rights on the Stem Cell Frontier, and writes, teaches, and speaks widely about the relationship between innovation and equity, science and citizenship, health and justice.

Keynote to a conference on “Where is the Human in the Data?,” and is followed by a workshop on Friday, 9am-12pm. Cosponsored by the UMN Informatics Institute, Minnesota Population Center, the Digital Arts, Sciences, & Humanities (DASH) program, and University Libraries. To request a disability-related accommodation, please contact the IAS ( 612-626-5054) at least two weeks prior to the event.

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