Next SSHM Seminar, February 4th: Dr Silvia Camporesi on “Stop this talk of new eugenics! Reframing the discourse around reproductive genetic technologies”

The Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine is  delighted to announce the next event in our SSHM Seminar Series event. Please mark your calendars to hear Dr Silvia Camporesi (Department of SSHM, KCL) speak about her work on reproductive genetic technologies. Her talk is entitled “Stop this talk of new eugenics! Reframing the discourse around reproductive genetic technologies”.

Silvia Camporesi

The Seminar will place on Wednesday 4th February from 13:00-14:30 in Room STD/K0.18 King’s Building, King’s College London.

Abstract: In this paper I argue that the current media and academic discourse surrounding reproductive genetic technologies (RGT) needs rethinking. The talk will be structured in two parts. A first level of analysis will concern whether the comparison between RGT and eugenics is justified. Examples of the media and academic discourses framing RGT as a resurgence of eugenics abound. I will argue that we should abandon the use of the term “new eugenics” or “neogenics” in reference to the RGT. This does not mean that there are no ethical issues in how parents engage today with RGT, only that there are different ethical issues from the ones raised by the current ethical discourse. In the second part of this talk I will argue that an analysis of RGT grounded only in Robertson’s concept of procreative liberty is also inadequate, and that we should look at RGT as “practices of ethical self-formation”, borrowing from Catherine Mills. I will propose a new term, “eligogenics”, to refer to RGT, where the prefix “eligo” reflects the fact that the RGT are used not only, as often portrayed, to improve on existing capacities as within the realm of enhancement, but also to choose (from the Latin ‘eligere’) what parents consider to be “good” for their children, including traits traditionally considered disabilities. When we recognise the limits of the current discourse surrounding RGT, we will have opened up a space for much more interesting dialogue including discussions pertaining to identity and different conceptions of human flourishing.

Dr Silvia Camporesi is a Lecturer in the Department of Social Science, Health & Medicine at King’s College, London. Trained as a biotechnologist and a philosopher in Italy, the US and the UK, Silvia’s research interests lay at the intersection of genetic technologies, reproduction and elite sport. Silvia has published her first book for the UC Medical Humanities Press in 2014 titled From bench, to bedside, to track & field: the context of enhancement and its ethical relevance and is now working on a second book titled Bioethics, Genetic and Sport with Michael J. McNamee from Swansea University (Routledge, 2016). Silvia  currently leads the new MA in Bioethics & Society. More information about her research is available here.

For more information about our SSHM Seminar Series, please visit:

This entry was posted in Bioethics, Careers, Genomics, Health Policy, Medical Humanities and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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