March 13, 2008 – Sarah Franklin: “Transparent Biology: A Cultural Account”


Transparent Biology: A Cultural Account
Thursday, March 13 / 4 PM / Humanities 210

In this presentation Sarah Franklin considers the recent debates about the remaking of genealogy and inheritance that recompose national and global politics at the level of cellular action. Her past work on IVF, cloning, and stem cells brings together feminist theory, cultural and science studies, with fieldwork in laboratories and clinics where push comes to shove in the vague but oddly certain contexts of decision-making that drive forward imaginaries of hope, progress, and renewal. Against the history of the “frontier” on which so many of these visions are sown, lies a complex topography of interests and investments that might be described as biocapital.

After Dolly
Friday, March 14 / 10 AM – 12 PM / Humanities 210

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In this seminar Sarah Franklin will discuss her work on Dolly the sheep and the aftermath of the Roslin series of experiments into transgenesis using the example of iPS, or induced pluripotent stem cells. This seminar will also provide the occasion to review some of the political differences between US and UK policy toward stem cell research, with a look back at what feminist science studies has had to say about the embryo and fetus.

Sarah Franklin has written, edited, and co-edited 15 books on reproductive and genetic technologies, as well as more than 70 articles, chapters, and reports. Her work combines traditional anthropological approaches, including both ethnographic methods and kinship theory, with more recent approaches from science studies, gender theory, and cultural studies. In 2004 she moved to the London School of Economics, to a chair created for her in the Department of Sociology and linked to the BIOS Centre. In 2007, Professor Franklin was awarded an ESRC senior research fellowship to consolidate a number of themes in her recent research under the heading “The IVF-Stem Cell Interface: A Sociology of Embryo Transfer.” She is co-author of Technologies of Procreation: Kinship in the Age of Assisted Conception (Manchester, 1993, repr. Routledge, 1999), and Global Nature, Global Culture (Sage, 2000), among others. Her most recent book is Dolly Mixtures: The Remaking of Genealogy (Duke, 2007).

Co-sponsored by the Departments of Sociology and History of Consciousness, with additional funds provided by Feminist Studies, Literature, the Genomics and Justice Working Group, and the Institute for Humanities Research.