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Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

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The Politics of Pregnancy: Gestation, Abortion, and Labor

Brooklyn Institute for Social Research @ Online Classroom

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Bioengineering: from Terraforming to Designer Babies

In this thought-provoking course from the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, you'll explore the core principles of biotechnology and the ethical, political, and economic implications of manipulating biological matter. Uncover the exciting possibilities and real constraints that shape the future of bioengineering today!

  • All levels
  • 21 and older
  • $335
  • Earn 3,350 reward points
  • Online Classroom
  • 12 hours over 4 sessions

Start Dates (0)

  • $335
  • 12 hours over 4 sessions
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Class Description

Description

What you'll learn in this lecture class:

Terraforming planets, designer babies, human cloning, cyborgs, and many more utopian, as well as dystopian, imaginaries involve the technological transformation of nature—or, in other words, a will to manipulate biological matter. This in itself is nothing new: as early as the 16th century, Francis Bacon claimed dominion over nature as a matter of human survival. Five centuries later, after the discovery of DNA ushered genetic engineering into being, “dominion” appears closer than ever—if not the transcendence of certain biological constraints. With advances in technology, new horizons proliferate—dreams of curing diseases, growing organs on demand, and innumerable possibilities for modifying the human body, none of them independent of ethical, political, and economic ramifications. What is the science behind biological engineering? And what motivates human aspirations towards it?

In this course, we will explore, on the one hand, the core biological principles that inform biotechnology, from the molecular level to the organismal. On the other, we will examine the emergence of biotechnologies within the system of capitalism and their implications from both political and policy perspectives. What is synthetic biology? How does tissue engineering work? What real constraints limit the imagination of what bioengineering can, and should, do? And how does bioengineering blur our categories—of organic, inorganic, and even human? Readings will draw widely on primary scientific literature, statements from scientific conventions on biotechnology and biological patents, and theoretical writing by, among others, Daniel Nicholson, Erwin Schrödinger, Donna Haraway, Philip Pauly, and Stuart Newman.

Remote Learning

This course is available for "remote" learning and will be available to anyone with access to an internet device with a microphone (this includes most models of computers, tablets). Classes will take place with a "Live" instructor at the date/times listed below.

Upon registration, the instructor will send along additional information about how to log-on and participate in the class.

Refund Policy

  • Upon request, we will refund less 5% cancellation fee of a course up until 6 business days before its start date.
  • Students who withdraw after that point but before the first class are entitled to 75% refund or full course credit.
  • After the first class: 50% refund or 75% course credit.
  • No refunds or credits will be given after the second class.

In any event where a customer wants to cancel their enrollment and is eligible for a full refund, a 5% processing fee will be deducted from the refund amount.

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Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

The Brooklyn Institute for Social Research was established in 2011 in Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Its mission is to extend liberal arts education and research far beyond the borders of the traditional university, supporting community education needs and opening up new possibilities for scholarship in the...

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Brooklyn Institute for Social Research

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