Professor Sander Gilman of the University of Chicago will edit a special issue of the journal Patterns of Prejudice to be published in January 2002 devoted to an exploration of some of the questions arising from the ever-increasing understanding that modern science is acquiring about DNA and human genetics.
How is the new ‘eugenics’ confronted with the legacy of the discredited nineteenth-century version and its tragic association to the Holocaust?
Does the new genetics present the same or different moral problems as the older tradition (e.g. stigmatization, privacy issues etc.)?
Is there now a new legitimacy about speaking about biological cohorts? Is there a new relationship between old notions of ‘race’ and these new cohorts? (If you can speak of a ‘Jewish’ illness, for example, are you also implying the notion of a Jewish ‘race’?)
Does the new genetics enable one to think in new ways about a relationship between ‘race’ and illness, between ‘race’ and personality, or even between ‘race’ and ‘lifestyle’?
Do categories such as ‘beauty’ and ‘intelligence’ take on a newly charged meaning when it is possible to manipulate the genetic make-up to enhance such socially desirable qualities? Even before such manipulation is possible what social dilemmas do technologies (sale and purchase of sperm and egg, foetal sexual selection) present?
If our genes have a newly documented, central role in determining central aspects of our lives, if nurture is in fact proven to be overwhelmed by nature, what does it mean for our notion of human responsibility?
Is there the possibility of their being a new class of both public and private stigmatization of the ‘genetically impaired’ (e.g. the present introduction of screening as part of matchmaking)?
Papers addressing these and related questions should be submitted in two (2) copies with a disk, or as an e-mail attachment, by May 2001. They should be a maximum of twenty, double-spaced pages with documentation. Please see the journal for style sheet.
Sander L. Gilman
Henry R. Luce Distinguished Service Professor of the Liberal Arts in Human Biology
University of Chicago
1050 E. 59th Street
Chicago, IL 60637-1512
tel: +773 702 3268
fax: +773 702 5902
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