Rachel C. Lee, UCLA: "Race, Species, and Dynamic Instability"

Hillel, Meeting Room, 80 Brown Street

In "The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America: Biopolitics, Biosociality, and Posthuman Ecologies," Rachel Lee argues that the historical exigency of responding to biological racism has disabled antiracist critics from engaging other facets and implications of biological research that do not confirm 18th century taxonomies of race and species but throw them into question. This talk both elaborates on that claim and considers the non-human animal as a launching point for enrolling insights from microbiologsts, cell science, and feminist science and technology studies in our considerations of social justice formulated through a critical race or “intersectional” lens (linked genealogically to women of color criticism). The four movements of this talk are:


Prelude: On the Non-human Animal and Intersectionality
I: Exquisite Corpse and Life (Un)Ltd
II: The Experimental Risk-Bearing Subject
III: The Relevance of the Arts (Song and Biography) to Biotechnical Arrangements
Coda: Dynamic Instability

Rachel C. Lee, Associate Professor of English and Gender Studies at UCLA, specializes in Asian American literature, performance culture, and studies of gender and sexuality.  She is the author of The Exquisite Corpse of Asian America: Biopolitics, Biosociality, and Posthuman Ecologies (NYU, 2014),The Americas of Asian American Literature: Gendered Fictions of Nation and Transnation (Princeton University Press, 1999), editor of The Routledge Companion to Asian American and Pacific Islander Literature (Taylor Francis, 2014), and co-editor of the volume Asian America.Net: Ethnicity, Nationalism, and Cyberspace (Routledge University Press, 2003).  Lee has held a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of California, Berkeley, and a UC Humanities Research Institute.  Lee is currently Associate Director, Center for the Study of Women, Universityof California, Los Angeles and heading a multi-year research project, “Life (Un)Ltd,” addressing the question of what impact recent developments in the biosciences, biotechnology, and in clinical practice have had on feminist studies, especially those theorizing the circulation of population data and biomaterials in relation to race and (neo)colonialism.

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