Becoming Biosubjects

Becoming Biosubjects: Bodies. Systems. Technology.

NEIL GERLACH
SHERYL N. HAMILTON
REBECCA SULLIVAN
PRISCILLA L. WALTON
Copyright Date: 2011
Pages: 224
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442660090
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  • Book Info
    Becoming Biosubjects
    Book Description:

    Becoming Biosubjectsexamines the ways in which the Canadian government, media, courts, and everyday Canadians are making sense of the challenges being posed by biotechnologies.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-6009-0
    Subjects: Law

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. vii-2)
  4. CHAPTER ONE Introduction
    (pp. 3-27)

    Andrew Niccol’s stylish 1997 feature,Gattaca, provides a look into a future where, as its tag line suggests, ‘there is no gene for the human spirit.’ The film depicts the life of a ‘degenerate,’ or a non-genetically enhanced man (played by Ethan Hawke), who attempts to prove that he can compete with those genetically ‘superior’ to himself. Barred from even attempting to do so because of his ‘degenerate’ status, Hawke’s character is forced to ‘pass,’ and he does so by locating a genetically enhanced but now paralyzed partner (played by Jude Law). The two reach an agreement – Hawkes’s character will...

  5. CHAPTER TWO DNA Identification and Genetic Justice
    (pp. 28-61)

    A man lies on a wheeled hospital bed in a sterile room. The only other occupants are a medical doctor and a prison guard. Attached to his arm is an intravenous bag containing chemicals that will stop his heart when released into his bloodstream. A curtain is pulled back from the room’s only window, and behind it are seated witnesses to the execution that is about to take place. The man is a convicted murderer in the state of Nevada, and he is about to undergo the enactment of his death sentence. At the last moment, however, the state governor...

  6. CHAPTER THREE The Sexual Politics of Biotechnology
    (pp. 62-97)

    Margaret Atwood offers us two radically different, and yet equally unsettling, visions of our sexual future. InThe Handmaid’s Tale(1998), sexuality, reproduction, and technology intertwine to tell the story of Offred, a young woman forced into reproductive servitude under a fascist state in the Republic of Giliad. Rights of motherhood are given only to women who are aligned with the scientific and military elite, regardless of their physical ability to actually bear children. This gap between social and biological roles is filled by the handmaids: fertile women without the social status to be mothers. InOryx and Crake(2003)...

  7. CHAPTER FOUR Biopatents and the Ownership of Life
    (pp. 98-135)

    This is the story of a mouse, a mouse known both as the Oncomouse and his/her/its alias, the Harvard Mouse. The first name: generic/genetic, the second: legal/proprietary; the first: evoking a frightening disease; the alias: an Ivy League institution. In this chapter, we opt for the moniker Oncomouse, because it contains the traces of the laboratory while troubling proprietary logic. It also locates the cancer-gene-carrying rodent firmly in the ‘molecular optic,’ where ‘life is now imagined, investigated, explained, and intervened upon at a molecular level’ (Novas and Rose 2000, 487). In the molecular optic, one can imagine and invent not...

  8. CHAPTER FIVE Biosecurity, Bioterrorism, and Epidemics
    (pp. 136-172)

    Prior to 9/11, bioterrorism and epidemic outbreaks were largely fictional notions, in the North American context at least. Although the occasional dire warning about the possibility of an intentional release of disease-causing bioagents or the natural eruption of a mutated virus flashed across the media landscape, these were concerns held predominantly by fans of thrillers, scientific experts, and political and military authorities. One of the earliest widely read fictional representations of an ‘outbreak’ was Michael Crichton’s 1970 bestseller,The Andromeda Strain, in which a microbe brought to earth on a space probe begins to infect and kill human beings. The...

  9. CHAPTER SIX Conclusion: Becoming Biosubjects
    (pp. 173-188)

    The province of Saskatchewan is famous for the strength of its prairie winds, and they must have been blowing hard in 1996. That was the year that Percy Schmeiser, a farmer of more than fifty years, claimed that, unbeknownst to him, genetically modified canola seeds blew onto his land. Agribusiness giant Monsanto Corporation claimed that its canola seed was resistant to the herbicide Roundup, also produced by Monsanto. This allowed farmers who planted what was marketed as Roundup Ready Canola (RRC) to douse their fields in Roundup herbicide, killing all other plants but leaving the canola undamaged. Not surprisingly, Monsanto...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 189-194)
  11. References
    (pp. 195-210)
  12. Index
    (pp. 211-216)