Science_Identity_EthnicityA two-day interdisciplinary workshop, with keynote speaker Nadia Abu El-Haj (Barnard College)

April 24 & 25, 2014
Location: Belfer Case Study room at CGIS

 co-hosted by: The Program for Science, Technology and Society at the John F. Kennedy School of Government and the Harvard Center for Middle Eastern Studies

 Organizers: Elise K. Burton and Ian V. McGonigle


With recent advances in the biosciences, such as second-generation genomic sequencing, advanced techniques in assisted conception, and the prediction of inheritable diseases, many aspects of individual identities — from ethnicity to genealogy to disease susceptibility — have been problematized. DNA is now being ‘read’ by scientists to articulate a molecular basis for many historical and social phenomena, such as individual’s membership in ethnic or national groups, as well as renewing older concerns about social control of populations through genetics. But what do these new kinds of genetic readings do for states and their citizens? To what extent have the genetic sciences expanded or circumscribed the ways of authorizing ethnic and national belonging? How has research in population genetics and human biogeography affected legal and political rights to citizenship, and territorial disputes? Are biological sciences, technologies, and society entangled to the point of being co-produced, and if so in what ways? This symposium tackled these questions from a global perspective, with the hope of fostering dialogue across disciplinary divides and geographical regions.