Symposium on Race and Genetics

February 26, 2007

Is medication targeted to specific racial groups ethical?
What is the connection between DNA and racial profiling?

The Department of African and Afro-American Studies hosted the Symposium on Race and Genetics to facilitate a campus discussion of the promise as well as the perils of the field of genetics. They welcomed to campus four distinguished scholars:

  • Professor Michael Blakey, National Endowment for the Humanities Professor of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary. Professor Blakey directed the African Burial Ground excavation on Wall Street, New York, and he is the Director of the Institute of Historical Biology at William and Mary. The topic of his presentation was "How the Field of Genetics Feeds on Ideology."
  • Professor Alondra Nelson, Department of Sociology, Yale University, Co-editor of Race, Technology and Everyday Life (NYU Press 2001) and editor of the Social Text special issue on black diasporic culture and technology. Professor Nelson has conducted research on the socio-cultural implications of genetic science, including genetic genealogy testing. Her presentation was titled "African American Root-Seeking in the Age of Genomics."
  • Mr. Osagie K. Obasogie, a bioethicist with the Center for Genetics and Society in Oakland, California, where he is the Project Director on Race, Disability, and Eugenics. He regularly contributes articles on ethics and genetics to national newspapers.
  • Professor Linda D. Strausbaugh, Professor of Genetics, Department of Molecular & Cell Biology and Director, Center for Applied Genetics and Technology, at the the University of Connecticut. Her talk focused on forensics and ethics, including recent projects on genetics and ancestry.

The event was made possible by the Office of the Provost.