DNA, Identity, and Power
Spring 2018, Dartmouth College
DNA has become a powerful but often controversial tool for making knowledge about human natures and our relations to one another. As both scientists and the public gain access to unprecedented amounts of genomic information, DNA evidence has become increasingly incorporated into political claims about race, gender and sexual identities, as well as issues of group belonging, cultural heritage, and the emergence of complex traits and behaviors. This course centers around critical engagement with the politics of genomics and discerning the ways that historical, political, and social factors shape how knowledge is produced through DNA. However, such critical engagement with genomic science is not a call to abandon either biology or the body as crucial sites of knowledge production. Rather, in this course we work to hold both biological and social forces in the same view so that we may better grapple with the entwining of history into bodies and of bodies into history.