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    10.04.18 Symposium: The Gift and Weight of Genomic Knowledge - In Search of the Good Biocitizen

    Thursday, October 4 and Friday, October 5
    8:15 a.m.: Registration and Continental Breakfast
    9 a.m. to 5 p.m.: Program

    Brooklyn Law School
    Feil Hall, Forchelli Conference Center
    205 State Street
    Brooklyn, NY

    This conference will be livestreamed from the Hastings Center webpage beginning at 9 a.m. ET on October 4. All of the livestreamed videos will be available on YouTube after the conference has ended.

    About the Symposium
    “This knowledge is irrevocable.” So reads an opening line in the terms-of-service agreement for 23andMe, a leading direct-to-consumer genetic testing company. This remarkable phrase attests to an increasing recognition of the role genomic knowledge plays in shaping human life. On the one hand, genomic knowledge is a gift, creating novel insights into the genetic drivers of disease and into the geographical paths of our ancestors. On the other, it is a weight, creating new obligations, new forms of social classification, and new forms of surveillance. Thus, we are faced with a fundamental question: how can we live well in the face of knowledge that can change the criteria, conditions, and lived experience of life? Or, as we formulate that question for this conference, what is a good biocitizen?

    This conference aims to take a step back and ask: In what ways can genomic knowledge promote human flourishing, and in what ways might it thwart it? What are the conditions that shape the biocitizen today, and how ought one act in light of these? Heeding not only the lessons of this history, but also our contemporary socio-political context, we wish to gain clarity on how genomics has shaped and is shaping lived experience. How, against the background of such knowledge, might we leverage genomic knowledge toward a life lived well in health for all?

    View agenda

    Catherine Bliss, UC San Francisco
    Catherine Clune-Taylor, Princeton University
    Melinda Hall, Stetson University
    Eva Kittay, SUNY Stony Brook
    Jessica Kolopenuk, University of Alberta
    Colin Koopman, University of Oregon
    Leslie Larkin, Northern Michigan University
    Alondra Nelson, Columbia University
    Carolyn Neuhaus, The Hastings Center
    Jenny Reardon, UC Santa Cruz
    Sandra Soo-Jin Lee, Stanford University
    Joe Stramondo, San Diego State University

    Please register by October 1. Registration is available for one or both days.

    Sponsored by Brooklyn Law School’s Center for Health, Science and Public Policy and The Hastings Center. Co-sponsored by Columbia University’s Department of Medical Humanities and Ethics and Harvard Medical School’s Center for Bioethics.

    This conference will have live on-screen captioning and will be livestreamed. Venue is wheelchair accessible. Requests for a reasonable accommodation based on a disability to attend this event should be made to Joel Reynolds at and Louise Cohen, the BLS Reasonable Accommodations Coordinator, at or (718) 780-0377. Please make your request as soon as possible to determine whether the request can be accommodated.
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