ONLINEGenomic Citizenship: Genes and Identity in the Mideast

October 5, 2021 Free
Graphic representation of the DNA sequence
(Photo: iStock/Gio_tto)

Join us for a public conversation, in conjunction with the release of “Genomic Citizenship: The Molecularization of Identity in the Contemporary Middle East,” with its author, Ian McGonigle, and Sara Shostak, two experts working at the intersection of science and society.

Based on ethnographic work in Israel and Qatar, two small Middle Eastern ethno-nations with significant biomedical resources, Genomic Citizenship explores the relationship between science and identity. McGonigle discusses biological understandings of Jewishness, especially in relation to the intellectual history of Zionism and Jewish political thought, and considers the possibility of a novel application of genetics in assigning Israeli citizenship. He also describes developments in genetic medicine in Qatar and analyzes the Qatari Biobank in the context of Qatari nationalism and state-building projects.

Ian McGonigle is assistant professor of anthropology and science, technology and society at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore and an alumnus of the Schusterman Center’s Summer Institute for Israel Studies. Before joining NTU, he held postdoctoral positions at Tel Aviv University, Harvard University and the University of Cambridge. McGonigle’s work in the social study of science examines the role of science in identity formation and nation-building, revealing the privileged role of biology in mediating ethnic and national identities and stabilizing national consciousnesses.

Sara Shostak is associate professor of sociology and health science, society and policy at Brandeis University. She is the author of the award-winning book “Exposed Science: Genes, the Environment, and the Politics of Population Health,” served as the associate editor of a special issue of the American Journal of Sociology focused on genetics and social structure, and has an extensive record of publications on whether and how genetic information shapes people’s lives and life chances. 

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Tuesday, October 5, 2021, 9:00 am - 10:00 am

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