Talking Biopolitics

TALKING BIOPOLITICS was a series of pre-Tarrytown 2012 live web-based conversations with distinguished thought leaders in our network. Complete versions of the webinars and interviews are available here. For webinars, first open the visual presentation in a new browser window or tab by clicking on the PDF icon.  Return to this window and click on the audio icon.  Then go to the visual presentation and follow as the speaker indicates the slide being referred to.  To watch an interview click on the video icon. TALKING BIOPOLITICS has continued as a post-Tarrytown CGS series; see more here:

TALKING BIOPOLITICS: Harriet Washington interviewed by Lisa Ikemoto

Tuesday May 8, 11am PT / noon MT / 1pm CT / 2pm ET.

Harriet discussed her experiences writing and talking about the increasingly powerful “medical-industrial complex,” the erosion of informed consent in biomedical research, and the ways that commercial dynamics have aggravated issues of distributive and social justice. She also describes the resistance she has encountered when writing about these topics, especially in response to her recently published book Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself--And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future. She addressed opportunities for scholars to engage more directly in communicating their ideas to broader audiences and the difficulties they may face in “going public.” And she pressed the case she makes in Deadly Monopolies: The Shocking Corporate Takeover of Life Itself--And the Consequences for Your Health and Our Medical Future for what Osagie Obasogie called, in a review of the book “a broader political consciousness of science and technology.”

Video [MP4]

TALKING BIOPOLITICS: Dorothy Roberts interviewed by David Winickoff

Tuesday April 10, 2012, 4:00-5:00 pm ET / 1:00-2:00 pm PT

Dorothy talked about one of the most pressing social justice challenges raised by recent developments in genetic science and technologies: the resurgence of race as biological concept. She discussed her efforts to communicate this trend, and to place it within broad social and political contexts in the United States, in her recently published book Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century.

Dorothy examined the role of popular media in propagating resurgent ideas about race as a biological concept, and described responses to her efforts to explain how the revival of racial science threatens to make conditions worse at a time when racism continues and public support for families, disadvantaged communities and people with disabilities is shrinking. Dorothy also shared her thoughts about publicly engaged and politically relevant scholarship, and the lessons she has gleaned from her own commitments to these goals.

Video [MP4]


TALKING BIOPOLITICS: Bill McKibben interviewd by Marcy Darnovsky

Friday March 2, 2012, 2:00-3:00 pm ET / 10:00-11:00 pm PT

Bill talked about why he wrote Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered Age (2003), how it was received, and what this experience might tell us about communicating and organizing in support of practices and policies addressing human biotechnology, both domestically and internationally. Based on his work as an author, educator, environmentalist, and, most recently, founder of the dynamic grassroots climate change initiative, he shared his thoughts about ways in which the issues of climate change and human biotech can be understood as facets of a single dynamic involving the technological manipulation and transformation of the natural world, including plants, animals, humans and ecosystems. He discussed the lessons that those of us focused on human biopolitics might draw from the burgeoning activism and recent policy engagements addressing climate change, energy and the environment.

Video [MP4]


SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY 101: What is it, why shoud we care and what can we do about it?

Thursday July 14, 2011, 3:30-4:30 pm ET / 12:30-1:30 pm PT

This webinar analyzed current developments in the field of synthetic biology, and why those involved with the Tarrytown Meetings Initiative should be concerned. Jaydee Hanson discussed the types of research actually being conducted under the wide umbrella of “synthetic biology,” Eric Hoffman focused on their social and health implications, and Tina Stevens reviewed the need for grassroots action to confront their risks.

Presenters: Jaydee Hanson, International Center for Technology Assessment; Eric Hoffman, Friends of the Earth; Tina Stevens, Alliance for Humane Biotechnology


ASSISTED REPRODUCTIVE TECHNOLOGIES: Current scientific, marketing and political developments, and what is to be done

Thursday, June 23, 2011, 3:30-4:30 pm ET / 12:30-1:30 pm PT

This webinar provided analysis of current scientific, marketing and political developments related to assisted reproductive technologies, including new methods of prenatal genetic testing, sex selection, commercial surrogacy, third-party egg and sperm providers, and embryonic stem cell research. It focused on practices and policies that raise questions, concerns, or possibilities from a reproductive justice perspective.

Presenters: Susan Berke Fogel, Pro-Choice Alliance for Responsible Research