Casting the Self In and Through Genomics

Speaker: Professor Maureen McNeil # Lancaster University

4th Feb 2013

15:00 - 16:30

Seminar Room, Old Surgeons' Hall

Abstract: This presentation will consider the features and significance of how some well-known figures in genomics have chosen to represent themselves.   It will revolve mainly around analyses of John Sulston’s portrait (by the artist Marc Quinn) which has been displayed at the National Gallery in London since 2001 and J. Craig Venter’s autobiography--   A Life Decoded: My Genome: My Life (2007).  I will consider some features of these representations of key figures in the history of genomics, including their materialist entanglements with the field.  The presentation will explore how these personal artefacts might also be related to the genealogy of visual and textual representations of scientists.   Finally, I will offer some reflections on how these case-studies might relate to recent explorations of subjectivity which reference developments in the biosciences (e.g. Nikolas Rose, The Politics of Life Itself: Biomedicine, Power, and Subjectivity in the Twenty-First Century, 2007, etc.).

Speaker Biography: Maureen McNeil is a Professor of Women’s Studies and Cultural Studies at Lancaster University. Much of her research is at the intersection of cultural studies, feminist studies and science/technology studies, and she has been involved in the development of feminist studies of science and technology. She also has an interest in the politics, theories, and narratives of reproduction, with reference to developments in science, technology and medicine, which stems from her PhD research on 18th and 19th century theories of evolution.