Monday, June 25, 2007

Unnaturalness and Genetic Engineering in Science Fiction

As an addendum to her review of Women in Science: Meeting Career Challenges, Zuska points out an interesting-looking article by Laura Briggs and Jodi I. Kelber-Kaye, "There is no Unauthorized Breeding in Jurassic Park": Gender and the Uses of Genetics," published in the Fall 2000 issue of NWSA Journal. According to the abstract the article looks at the genetic engineering in Jurassic Park and Gattaca from a feminist perspective.

The abstract:
This article relies on close readings of Jurassic Park (the book and the film) and(film) to argue that a great deal of the opposition to new genetic technologies expressed in contemporary popular culture is grounded in a profound anti-feminism. Both of these science fiction stories suggest that genetic manipulation is “unnatural,” and call for a return to a romanticized “natural” motherhood. In Jurassic Park, genetic science is figured as a threat to the white nuclear family, producing “Third World” female dinosaurs whose reproduction cannot be stopped, whose existence threatens white American children. Gattaca aligns the “unnaturalness” of genetically modified offspring with homosexuality and communism, and calls for the return of democracy, individual striving, and motherhood. Together, the article argues, these two texts suggest some of the pitfalls for feminism in contemporary discussions of reproductive technology and genetic determinism.
The full article is available on-line to subscription-holders.

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  1. Anonymous7:58 PM

    I just wanted to be sure it was absolutely clear, Peggy is quoting the abstract of the article by authors Laura Briggs and Jodi I. Kelber-Kaye as quoted in my blog post, not something that I wrote myself.

  2. Yes, sorry if there is any confusion.

  3. I've edited the post to make it clearer that the quote is the abstract of the article.


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