What makes you, you: stories of genetics and human identity

How does genetics relate to who ‘we’ are? Social scientist Jonathan Roberts explores how films and books can help us think about our identity as we enter the genomic age.

Location: (click for map)

McCrum Lecture Theatre, Corpus Christi College, Bene't Street, CB2 1RH


Thu 23rd Mar, 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm

In 1924 the biologist J.B.S Haldane described a future where the human race controlled its evolution using reproductive technologies. This work was later satirised in the novel Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, which vividly depicted a world where identity is tightly controlled through harnessing the power of biology.

The theme of how our identity is related to our biology has been explored heavily in fiction. This includes: films such as GATTACA, Blade Runner and the X Men series; books like Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake trilogy; and the video game ‘BioShock’, where players’ powers are upgraded through genetic alterations.

As genomics becomes more and more part of everyday life, questions will arise as to how genetics relates to who ‘we’ are: as an individual, as a family and as a society. Through a range of popular examples, social scientist Jonathan Roberts will explore how stories can help us think about concepts of identity as we move into the genomic age.

More information:

Cambridge Science Festival 2017