From Cell Lines to Bioslaves: Biotechnology and the Politics of Health
December 2 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm
Humanities in Medicine Lecture Series
From Cell Lines to Bioslaves:
Biotechnology and the Politics of Health
Priscilla Wald, PhD
Professor of English and Women’s Studies
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
Duke Hospital Lecture Hall 2002
Lunch provided at NOON
Talk begins at 12:10 pm
The HeLa cell line, named for Henrietta Lacks, revolutionized cell biology. Henrietta Lacks, who died from aggressive cervical cancer, gave the story of the creation of the cell line a human face. The numerous retellings of her tragic story, however, have conflated the person and the cells and obscured important unresolved questions. What exactly is a cell line? What is its relation to the human donor? Why does it produce so much legal and political confusion? The efforts to make sense of this and other new entities in the broader context of the emergence of biotechnology as big business will be the subject of this talk.
Priscilla Wald is Professor of English and Women’s Studies at Duke University and author of Contagious: Cultures, Carriers, and the Outbreak Narrative and Constituting Americans: Cultural Anxiety and Narrative Form. She is interested in the intersections of science, law, and literature, and is currently at work on a book-length study entitled Human Being After Genocide.
Lecture Hall 2002 is one floor directly above the main lobby of Duke Hospital.