A project of Brooklyn Historical Society

What's Biology Got to Do with It? The Social Life of Genetics


Event Date:

Saturday, November 16, 2013 - 3:00pm

Part One of the reading series Quantifying Bloodlines

What do we learn about ourselves through genetics and genealogy?

How does DNA connect with what we know about our family’s ancestry and cultural heritage? 

Join anthropologist, Jennifer Scott in conversation with sociologist Ann Morning, author of The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference (2011), for a discussion examining the social life of DNA.

Having read The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, we will explore the tremendous social impact of one woman’s cellular legacy upon the world.  We will discuss the impact on her direct descendants as Henrietta Lacks' family discovers how their genes were used to make unprecedented medical advancements and enormous profits without their consent. Looking at the connections between biology and culture, this discussion session will explore the meanings of heredity, inheritance, and questions of bioethics.

Please plan to have read the book prior to our meeting.


Saturday, November 16th, 2013
3:00PM – 6:00PM

Brooklyn Historical Society, Othmer Library

Session is limited to 15 participants. Active participation is key. 

The event is the first in a two-part reading series, Quantifying Bloodlines. Continue the conversation:

What's Purity Got To Do with It? 
December 7th
The Fiddler on Pantico Run by Joe Mozingo


Jennifer Scott is a Part-Time Professor at The New School for Public Engagement, Parsons School of Art and Design History and Theory, and Pratt Institute’s Graduate School of Arts and Cultural Management, where she teaches courses in cultural anthropology, museology and global studies. An anthropologist and oral historian, she performed historical and curatorial research for a number of museums, non-profits, arts and history organizations for almost 20 years. She is an Interviewer for the Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations oral history project.

This reading and discussion group is co-sponsored by MixedRaceStudies.org