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Events organised as part of the Genetics Pedagogies Project:

Public lecture by Evelyn Fox Keller

Professor Emerita of History and Philosophy of Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"From Gene Action to Reactive Genomes"

Monday 30th June 2014, 5-6:30pm at Devonshire Hall, Cumberland Road, Leeds, LS6 2EQ

Evelyn Fox Keller is an influential figure in the history and philosophy of modern biology, whose works include A Feeling for the Organism: The Life and Work of Barbara McClintock (1983), The Century of the Gene (2000) and The Mirage of a Space between Nature and Nurture(2010). In this address, she will argue that we are poised at a critical turning point in the history of genetics, where cutting edge research in genomics, epigenetics, and genomic plasticity obliges us to critically re-examine many of our most basic concepts about the gene and its operations. We are undergoing a radical transformation in our understanding of the genome – a shift from a conception of a static collection of active genes to that of a dynamic and reactive system.

This event was followed by a wine reception sponsored by the British Society for the History of Science.

Nurturing Genetics: Reflections on a Century of Scientific and Social Change

An international and interdisciplinary symposium

University of Leeds, 30 June-2 July 2014

To mark both the upcoming centenary of The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity (1915) by T. H. Morgan et al. and the completion of the Leeds-based Genetics Pedagogies Project, we hosted a three-day symposium on a century of change in and out of genetics, featuring talks from scholars across the disciplines. In keeping with the ambitions of the project, gene-environment interaction and its complexities were in the foreground throughout.

Monday 30th June

Prof. Gregory Radick (HPS, Leeds): Welcome/Introduction.
Prof. Evelyn Fox Keller (STS, MIT): "From Gene Action to Reactive Genomes".

View a video of this session here

Drinks Reception, sponsored by the British Society for the History of Science.

Tuesday 1st July

Session 1: Eugenics and its Legacies
Dr. Chris Renwick (History, York): "Alexander Carr Saunders, Julian Huxley and Gene-Environment Interaction in Interwar British Sociology". View a recording of this talk
Dr. James Tabery (Philosophy, Utah): “Gene-Environment Interaction in the 21st Century: Its Rise, Its Fall, Its Rise?" View a recording of this talk

Session 2:  Hybridizations: Genetics, Agriculture, Medicine
Dr. Helen Anne Curry (HPS, Cambridge): “Creation versus Conservation: Competing Strategies for the Management of Genetic Diversity in 20th-Century Agriculture”
Dr. Steve Sturdy (STIS, Edinburgh): “Making Genomic Medicine: New Knowledge, New Politics” View a recording of this talk

Session 3: Towards a Better Handling of Complexity in the Clinic
Prof. Gholson Lyon (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory): “Genetic Complexity and Neuropsychiatric Disorders” View a recording of this talk
Dr. Barbara Potrata (Leeds Institute of Health Sciences): “After the Diagnosis: The Impact of Genetic Diagnosis”

Session 4: Towards a Better Handling of Complexity in the Classroom
Dr. Niklas Gericke (Environment and Life Sciences, Karlstad): “Epistemological Foundations for Genetics Education: The Issue of Conceptual Variation and Multiple Models” View a recording of this talk
Dr. Annie Jamieson (HPS, Leeds): “Leave the Monk in the Garden: Results of the Genetics Pedagogies Project” View a recording of this talk

Gala Conference Dinner

Wednesday 2nd July

Roundtable/Discussion sessions


Genetics, Genomics and Changing Understandings of Nature/Nurture: An Interdisciplinary Workshop

This workshop took place on Tuesday 21 May 2013, in the Centre for Medical Humanities Seminar Room, University of Leeds and was generously co-hosted by the Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities


Introduction to the Genetics Pedagogies Project and the workshop (Gregory Radick, Genetics Pedagogies Project)

Counterfactuals in the teaching of genetics (Annie Jamieson, Genetics Pedagogies Project)
Social/cultural aspects of genetic testing and diagnosis (Janice McLaughlin, University of Newcastle)
Nessa Carey (epigenetic lead for the External Research & Development Innovation Unit at Pfizer and author of The Epigenetics Revolution) on recent developments in genetics that undermine the idea of genetic determinism

Collective discussion of project plans and proposed materials

Feedback from discussion and concluding remarks from Stuart Murray, Leeds Centre for Medical Humanities

17:00-18:00 Drinks reception