Friday, July 31, 2009

Blade Runner 2009

Evolution's third replicator: Genes, memes, and now what? - life - 31 July 2009 - New Scientist

Memetics for the Digital Age? Computers evolving past humans because of their ability to copy and reproduce digital information beyond that of humans? Digital revolution as the end of the human dominance? Its all here. New Scientist is afraid what will happen "that's machines copying information to other machines without the intervention of a human brain." The apocalyptic scenarios are interesting and of course imply another version of "The Matrix".

Of course the "third replicator" also of course hearkens back to "Blade Runner", which btw takes place in November 2009. Here is the trailer for nostalgia sake:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Middle Age Motherhood

There was a story on Slate today asking "Is It Okay to Impregnate a 60-year Old?" In yet another example of bioregulation of female bodies, it sites the statistic that birthrate of women 35 and older has increased by 140% over 30 years and then asks "Is middle-aged motherhood getting out of control?" First of all, since when is 35 middle-aged. And second, while a case of a 66-year old getting artificially inseminated is unusual and ethically problematic, to extrapolated from it to a general need for regulation over "middle-aged motherhood" is yet another example how women's bodies are a site for societal biological regulations and discipline. When a man has a child at 72, no one calls for a stoning. There are some troubling assumptions there about the primary caregiver gender and role that need to be addressed.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Welcome to the brand new Biocultures blog! Here I, and hopefully others, will post critical cultural commentaries on developments and discourses of science and technology. Inspired by Biocultures Manifesto by Lennard J. Davis and David B. Morris (New Literary History, 2007, 38: 411–418 ), the blog embraces its statement that science and humanities can mutually benefit from engagement with each other. This conversation must be critical, but it cannot be simply reactionary or dismissive. This blog will embrace critical perspectives on biotechnology, genomics, biomedicine, epidemiology, health care, information technologies, and much much more. It will examine how bodies, subjectivities, and identities are formed and invented in the realm of bioculture. It will rigorously and critically engage with scientific and technological developments, but will not dismiss them as simply dangerous or repressive. To quote Biocultures Manifesto - "the spectre of biocultures is upon us:

• Science and humanities are incomplete without each other.
• It is untrue that the humanities are the realm of values and the
sciences the realm of facts.
• Science isn’t hard and the humanities aren’t soft.
• You can’t fully understand the results of a given data set without
knowing the historical, social, cultural, discursive fields surrounding
the data.
• Any contemporary research needs more than a cursory background
in history and in the history of the concepts it employs.
• You can’t study a subject that is an object.
• You can’t study an object that isn’t a subject.
• Diseases are disease entities.
• If you divide truths in half you get half-truths.
• If you divide knowledge, your knowledge is divided.
• Pain is always in your head because your brain is.
• Nothing human is universal or atemporal.
• Embodiment is necessarily biological, and knowledge is always em-
• A fact is a socially produced conclusion.
• Bodies are always cultural and biological.
• Selves today are embodied, biologized, shaped by medical knowl-
• The body—whose, what, when, where—is always in question.
• The boundary between organic and inorganic is no longer clear.
• Technology has become human; humans have become technolo-
• Patients and experimental subjects are part of the decision-making
• Science can be postmodern; postmodernisms can be scientific.
• Biology, as a science, cannot exist outside culture; culture, as a
practice, cannot exist outside biology."

Welcome to Bioculture! If you are interested in posting on this blog please contact me directly.