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Baby hand holding DNA and being held by adult hand

Rayna Rapp, Professor of Anthropology at New York University, and Faye Ginsberg, David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology at New York University, will present a talk titled, "Screening Disabilities: Visual Fields, Public Culture and the Atypical Mind in the 21st Century." The talk will be based on their work together on cultural innovation in special education in New York City and their work on brain research about learning, memory, childhood psychiatric diagnoses, and epigenetics. Kinship relations also lie at the heart of their project, and they are interviewing families across a wide array of social locations who have had the experience of having a child diagnosed with special educational categories and services.

Michael Bérubé's talk as part of this event will focus on "Genotypes, Phenotypes, and Stereotypes," and the variability of "expression" in Down syndrome. The idea being that if trisomy-21 is so (ostensibly) indelible at the genetic level, and yet so unpredictable with regard to the actual bodies, minds, and lives of people with Down syndrome, we should deploy such genetic evidence with great caution-- and we should distinguish the genetic evidence of disability from genetic evidence of disease. Part of Bérubé's discussion will cover Michael Sandel's The Case Against Perfection and Jonathan Glover's Choosing Children. Bérubé will argue that we can rely neither on Sandel's idea of the norm nor on Glover's construction of disability.

The discussion will be chaired by Rachel Adams, Professor of English at Columbia University.

Free and open to the public. Seating is limited and first-come, first-served.

  • Rayna Rapp Professor of Anthropology and Associate Chair of Anthropology New York University
  • Michael Bérubé Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature and Director of the Institute for the Arts and Humanities Penn State University
  • Faye Ginsburg David B. Kriser Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Media, Culture and History New York University
  • Rachel Adams Professor of English and Comparative Literature Columbia University