The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Age

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Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 2004 - Antiques & Collectibles - 216 pages

The gene has become a cultural icon and an increasingly rich source of imagery and ideas for visual artists. Drawing on a wide range of contemporary painting and sculpture, The Molecular Gaze: Art in the Genetic Ageexplores the moral and bioethical questions these works address. What does it mean to be human? What is “identity” in a society of genetically manipulated individuals? Questions like these are growing louder as genetic technology advances and the public examines the ethical consequences more widely. Suzanne Anker and Dorothy Nelkin, an artist and a social scientist, have written a thought–provoking and visually fascinating book for scientists, artists, students, and general readers intrigued by the anxiety and exhilaration of the genetic age.

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Contents

The Art and Science of a Supermolecule
1
The Body as a Code Script of Information
9
The New Grotesque
47
Copyright

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About the author (2004)

Anker is a visual artist and theoretician working with genetic imagery. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally in museums and galleries, including the Walker Art Center, the Smithsonian Institution, the Philips Collection, PSI Museum and others. She is Chair of the Art History department at the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

A sociologist, science policy researcher, and teacher, Dorothy Nelkin has been a faculty member of Cornell University for most of her career. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she worked as a senior research associate in the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Cornell University from 1969 to 1972. Her first book, Migrant: Farm Workers in America's Northwest (1971), reflects her interest in the process of social and science policy making. Nelkin's subsequent books present case studies of the various factors that affect governmental decision making and policy development. She has focused on the dynamics of controversy, the role of citizen's groups, the press, and governmental or legal authorities in most of her studies. Nelkin was involved personally in a science-related social controversy, when a power company proposed building a nuclear power plant on Cayuga Lake. She has moved on to wider-ranging controversies related to governmental housing, weapons research at MIT, methadone maintenance, textbooks and the creation-evolution debate, use of biological tests, the antinuclear movement in France and Germany, and AIDS. Two of her books, Science as Intellectual Property (1983) and Selling Science (1988), examine scientific information - who owns it, who controls it, and how it is presented to the public. Perhaps her most well-known book, Controversy: Politics of Technical Decisions, presents a diverse collection of case studies, especially valuable for classroom use. In 1992, the book appeared in its third revised edition. Nelkin's prolific writing career has been supported by grants, as well as by visiting scholar and consultant positions. She has been awarded fellowships by the Guggenheim Foundation, National Science Foundation, and the Russell Sage Foundation. She has held visiting scholar appointments at Resources for the Future, Hastings Institute, and at research institutes in Berlin and Paris. Nelkin was an adviser for the Office of Technology Assessment and is a member of the National Advisory Council to the National Institutes of Health Human Genome Project. She also is a member and serves on the boards of directors of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing, Medicine in the Public Interest, and Society for the Social Studies of Science. After her initial appointment in Cornell's Science, Technology, Society Program, Nelkin became professor of sociology at Cornell from 1972 to 1989 and is now professor of sociology and affiliate professor of law at New York University. Nelkin is best known for establishing the case study method in interdisciplinary science/technology/society studies.

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