- May 2, 2019
- 7:00 pm
California Institute of Integral Studies
1453 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA 94103
From next-generation prenatal tests, to virtual children, to the genome-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9, new biotechnologies grant us unprecedented power to predict and shape future people. That power implies a question about belonging: which people, which variations, will we welcome? How will we square new biotech advances with the real but fragile gains for people with disabilities—especially when their voices are all but absent from the conversation?
George Estreich—an award-winning poet and memoirist, and the father of a young woman with Down syndrome—delves into the troubled territory where biotechnology and disability meet, restoring disability to our narratives of technology. In his latest book, Fables and Futures: Biotechnology, Disability, and the Stories we Tell Ourselves, he shows how each new application of biotechnology is accompanied by a persuasive story that minimizes downsides and promises enormous benefits. A key promise of new technologies is that disability will be repaired or prevented, which makes people with disabilities both invisible, and essential to the story of biotechnology.
Join bioethics professor Osagie K. Obasogie for a conversation with George examining the stories we tell ourselves and our urgent need to re-imagine, as broadly as possible, what it means to belong in a future where biotech can select and shape who we are.
George Estreich’s publications include a book of poems, Textbook Illustrations of the Human Body, which won the Gorsline Prize from Cloudbank Books, and The Shape of the Eye, a memoir about raising a daughter with Down syndrome, which received the 2012 Oregon Book Award in Creative Nonfiction. George has published essays and articles in The New York Times, The Oregonian, Avidly, The American Medical Association Journal of Ethics, Salon, Tin House, and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency.
Osagie K. Obasogie, JD, PhD is Haas Distinguished Chair and Professor of Bioethics at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Joint Medical Program and School of Public Health. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Center for Genetics and Society. Osagie's scholarly interests include Constitutional law, bioethics, sociology of law, and reproductive and genetic technologies.
His writings have spanned both academic and public audiences, with journal articles in venues such as the Law & Society Review, University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law, Stanford Technology Law Review, and the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics along with commentaries in outlets including the New York Times, The Atlantic, Slate, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, San Francisco Chronicle, and New Scientist.
His first book, Blinded By Sight: Seeing Race Through the Eyes of the Blind was awarded the Herbert Jacob Book Prize by the Law and Society Association. His second book, Beyond Bioethics: Towards a New Biopolitics (co-edited with Marcy Darnovsky), examines the past, present, and future of bioethics. Osagie received his BA in Sociology and Political Science (with distinction in both majors) from Yale University, his JD from Columbia Law School where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and his PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley where he was a fellow with the National Science Foundation.