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Genomics, Consent, and the Public Imaginary


Dec 07 2017


12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Forum for Scholars and Publics

011 Old Chemistry Building, Duke's West Campus Quad

Genomics, Consent, and the Public Imaginary

Genomics, Consent, and the Public Imaginary

with Deborah Laufer and Charmaine Royal

Please join us for conversation facilitated by Duke Professor Jules Odendahl-James between Deborah Zoe Laufer, award-winning playwright and Health Humanities artist-in-residence, and Duke Professor Charmaine Royal. They will discuss genetics in the public imaginary. The discussion will be introduced by Professor Karrie Stewart. Laufer, supported by the Franklin Humanities Institute Health Humanities Lab, will be on campus as an artist in residence from December 5-8, 2017. She will be leading a course enhancement that requires all students in Professor Stewart’s Global Health 341 (Ethics of Infectious Disease Control) to participate in a public reading of the award-winning play Informed Consent in the Sheafer Theater on Thursday, December 7, at 7 pm. The reading is free and open to the public.

Informed Consent is based on the true story of research misconduct by Arizona State University researchers working between 1989 and 2003 with the Havasupai, a Native American tribe who have lived in the bottom of the Grand Canyon for centuries. The play was a New York Times critic’s pick in 2015. The diverse range of characters in Informed Consent grapple with the implications of genetic technologies that reveal more about our future, and our past, than our current value systems have answers for. How much should we know about ourselves? About others? Who gets to do this research and what do they owe the research participants? Is it ever appropriate to mislead a research participant? What is the value of belief when it conflicts with science? Is DNA destiny? These are some points to discuss in the conversation leading up to the performance.

Free and open to the public. Light lunch served. Co-sponsored by the Forum for Scholars and Publics and the Health Humanities Lab at the Franklin Humanities Center.


Deborah Zoe Laufer

Deborah Zoe Laufer's play Informed Consent opened at the Duke on 42nd Street, a co-production of Primary Stages and Ensemble Studio Theatre, in August 2015. An Alfred P. Sloan Foundation commission through EST, it first received productions at Cleveland Playhouse and Geva Theatre Center. Her works have also been produced…...

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Dr. Charmaine Royal

Duke University

Dr. Charmaine Royal is the Robert O. Keohane Professor of African and African American Studies, Biology, Global Health, and Family Medicine and Community Health at Duke University. Dr. Royal directs the Duke Center on Genomics, Race, Identity, Difference and the Duke Center for Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation. Her research,…...

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Jules Odendahl-James

Duke University

Jules Odendahl-James is an artist/scholar who holds a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and an MFA in Directing from University of Texas Austin. She has taught a range of courses in Theater Studies (from Acting to Performing Science) at Duke University along with serving…...

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