Genomics and Justice Meeting at UC Santa Cruz, May 17-18, 2007
Genomics and Justice: Promises, Perils and Paradoxes May 17 and 18, 2007 University of California, Santa Cruz
With the completion of the Human Genome Project, and the emergence of the first generation of efforts to “translate” genomic information into practice in the lives of human beings, it has become evident that genomics will neither lead us to dystopic futures of mass social control, or utopic realizations of the end of race and the prospering of individual freedom. Instead, this complex and multi-faceted emergent new life science challenges us to think about the complexity and multiple facets of the social forms that are emerging along with it, forms that cannot in any simple way be reduced to either oppressive or liberatory, unjust or just. This workshop is designed to think about the ambivalences, dilemmas and paradoxes that in practice face us as we try to create a genomics that serves the goals of justice and democracy. The workshop takes as its first premise that just as genomics challenges us to re-think received understandings of the order of nature, so it challenges us to rethink our understandings of social order-including what might be meant by a just or democratic social order. The workshop will thus not assume we know what is meant by 'just',' or 'democratic,' but ask what such terms might mean and how they might be enacted in the space of genomics, a space of formation for contemporary modes of understanding and being human.