Work In Progress Seminar Series kicks off again with new convenor Giulia Cavaliere Tuesday October 20th

Giulia Cavaliere, will be the convenor of SSHM Work in Progress Seminar Series (WiPs) for 2015/16. Giulia is a Wellcome-Trust sponsored PhD student at SSHM working on the ethics of reproductive genetic technologies and the relation with eugenics.

The first meeting will be Tuesday the 20th from 16:00 to 17:30 in Room 3.1.1 East Wing, King’s Building.
Dr Silvia Camporesi will present her paper in progress titled: “A call for bioethics’ creative engagement with the CRISPR Cas/9 genome editing debate”.

Abstract is below.
These seminars are part of the BIOS+ Research Group at SSHM and offer the opportunity to the members of the Department to discuss drafts of their work-in-progress and receive helpful feedback from colleagues before submission or before a presentation. The aim is to bring together the researchers in the Department (and not only!) and provide a locus for sharing expertise and knowledge in an informal setting.  Junior researchers, including PhD students and post-docs, are especially encouraged to present.

If you are interested in attending  contact Giulia who will send you the draft of the paper:; @giuli_cavaliere

(If you are interested in presenting next time, do also write to Giulia!)


In this talk I begin to analyse the ethical boundary work at play in the CRISPR-Cas9 debate. I argue that Williams’ (2006) concept of “compressing the future” can be a powerful lens through which to look at the way the CRISPR-Cas9 debate is playing out. The imagined futures evoked by CRISPR-Cas9 can be understood as a particular type of story that bioethicists use to depict a new technology. It is important to understand why a story is chosen, why the rosy or the dystopic future. Using the term coined by Lezaun and Soneyrd (2007), CRISPR/Cas9 becomes a “technolog[y] of elicitation” which seeks to extract public opinion in a strategic way. I argue that we should pay attention to the fact that the call for a moratorium and for dialogue on CRISPR may not only influence decision-making but also, by preventing alternative views from surfacing in the debate and by putting emphasis only on the germ-line applications of the technology, restrict the boundaries of the much called-for public engagement by eliciting particular public responses. Instead, what becomes prioritised and what does not, and why, needs to become a matter of ethical scrutiny, and I provide some examples of possible applications of the technologies that are currently being overlooked. I conclude that CRISPR/Cas9 represents an opportunity not to be missed for bioethicists to engage creatively with science outside well-known schema of promises and fears.

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