Please join us for a colloquium being given by Ya-Wen Lei, Assistant Professor of Sociology at Harvard University.
Publics, Scientists, and the State: Mapping the Global Human Genome Editing Controversy, 2015–2019
Between 2015 and 2019, Chinese scientists faced a global outcry after publishing the results of new research conducted in human genome editing. By charting the controversy that ensued both within and beyond China, this paper highlights the existence and interaction of multiple, overlapping spheres of discussion, and shows how the boundaries and dynamics of these spaces shaped the debate around human genome editing and the response of the Chinese state. I delineate the national and transnational public spheres through which members of the general public debated this controversial research, as well as the national and transnational spheres of experts that saw scientists in China and beyond negotiate how “public” scientific debates should be. I further show the role of the Chinese state in containing scientific debates through censorship.