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ELSI Friday Forum 2022

Genomic Imaginaries: Sparking Dialogue between ELSI and Literary Studies


ELSI Friday Forum • February 11, 2022

As long as genetics research has been pursued, authors within and outside of the scientific establishment have crafted narratives to make sense of what it means. The “genomic imaginaries” found in literary fiction, works of popular nonfiction, blockbuster movies, and visual culture both reinforce and complicate dominant narratives about genomics put forward by governmental institutions and the popular press. They grapple with and help to construct notions of citizenship, humanity, and belonging informed by genomics. This panel seeks to bring insights gleaned from the study of interactions between science and literature (broadly construed) to an ELSI audience. What might be gained from greater dialogue between ELSI and literary studies, and what barriers currently exist to cross-disciplinary engagement? Our panelists, Lara Choksey and Lesley Larkin, are literary scholars writing about narrative in the genomic—and postgenomic—era.

Panelist: Lara Choksey, PhD (University College London)
Panelist: Lesley Larkin, PhD (Northern Michigan University)
Moderator: Rebecca Wilbanks, PhD (Johns Hopkins University)

Please see the attached transcript and resources files in the upper right hand corner of this page for more information on this topic, as well as the ELSIhub Collections "How Literature and Film Shape and Reflect Public Attitudes toward Genetics" and "Who Are We Now? Genetics, Genomics, and the Question of the Human."


Literature and genetics