Integrating Art/Literature, Science, and Public Policy Public Lecture

February 5, 2024, 10:00 am - 11:00 am

Bill Moore Student Success Center, Clary Theatre

Join us for a public lecture on "A Humanist in the World of Genomics: Privacy, Big Data, and Science Policy" by Jay Clayton, professor of cinema and media arts, and communication of science, engineering, and technology at Vanderbilt, and director of the Vanderbilt Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy.

How can humanists successfully compete for NIH funding? What roles can the humanities play in the public sphere? How can we influence public policy around issues ranging from genomics and neuroscience to AI and the environment? Drawing on his experience as site-PI on two collaborative NIH grants totaling more than $8 million, as former director of a center focused on the role of the arts in shaping public policy, as a participant in projects with the National Academy of Medicine, Personal Genome Project, and Broad Institute, and author of Literature, Science, and Public Policy: From Darwin to Genomics (Cambridge, 2023)Jay Clayton will outline answers that have worked at his institution and other universities.

Open to all students, staff, and faculty. Co-sponsored by the Schools of Literature, Media, and Communication; Modern Languages; and Public Policy. RSVP required. 

About Jay Clayton

His most recent book with Cambridge UP, Literature, Science, and Public Policy: From Darwin to Genomics, "shows how literature can influence public policy concerning scientific controversies in genetics and other areas. Literature brings unique insights to issues involving cloning, GMOs, gene editing, and more by dramatizing their full human complexity. Literature's value for public policy is demonstrated by striking examples that range from the literary response to evolution in the Victorian era through the modern synthesis of evolution and genetics in the mid-twentieth century to present-day genomics. Outlining practical steps for humanists who want to help shape public policy, this book offers vivid readings of novels by H. G. Wells, H. Rider Haggard, Aldous Huxley, Robert Heinlein, Octavia Butler, Samuel R. Delany, David Mitchell, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan, Kazuo Ishiguro, Gary Shteyngart, and others that illustrate the important insights that literary studies can bring to debates about science and society.    

Other recent work includes empirical research on the relationship between movies and TV series and public policy debates, for example, attitudes towards genetics.

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