Guys, I am the most boring person from my cohort!
I just found out via facebook that a lady I had classes with is the science consultant on Orphan Black. Waaaaa?
I don't watch the show but this factoid, and the write up linked below really makes me want to!
We had a couple classes together with a prof who really focused on the history of the body and how science, and colonialism, and medicine left their imprints and denied bodily agency. Cosima and I both really explicitly enjoyed talking about the idea of patenting DNA- which is talked about in Orphan Black, apparently! We also talked a lot about the ideas of normalization, or as she puts it:
"So I work in the history and philosophy of biology, trying to understand how particular kinds of social issues, like body and gender and sexuality and class, and all these different kinds of things get naturalized or "normalized" by calling it, somehow, "biological," giving some kind of scientific authority to it"
That's what I told people I did!
Really I ended up writing about food, colonialism and identity- but same things right?
This is a really great read, even if you're not a fan of the show! And it also makes me feel bad for all the times people made fun of her bee-hive and I didn't say anything. (Sorry Cosima, you were lovely, as was your hair and your tattoos and did I mention you were a hoot at pub nights?)
I particularly like her closing few statements that address the science of the show and it's social ramifications:
The patenting of genetic material, it's fascinating, complicated, crazy, and it seems counterintuitive and in some ways it does seem kind of sinister, and yet we live in an economic and social system where I don't see how we could have expected it to be otherwise. So things build over time, and you end up with a system that requires us to do certain kinds of things, like apply for patents, whether you want to or not… You'll see more about [patenting].
In the show or in real life?
From both the show and real life. But you should know that there are deeper issues that we're raising, and we're using that as a vehicle to do it. It has a lot to do with female agency and who owns your body. I'm Canadian and I live in the States now, and it's fascinating to see social and political conversations about who can get married, who owns your body, reproductive rights. We're raising those questions in really provocative ways. [The show] is not about giving you the answers. I don't think anybody has them. It's about who has the right to ask those questions and who regulates how they get answered. So it's about agency on all these different kinds of levels.