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Annual Distinguished Lecture in Medical Humanities – “Disability and the Promise of Technology: Eugenics, Prosthetics, and AI in Japan and the United States”

Monday, May 13, 2019 @ 4:00 pm - 6:30 pm

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Please join us for the
Annual Distinguished Lecture in Medical Humanities 
“Disability and the Promise of Technology: Eugenics, Prosthetics, and AI in Japan and the United States”
by Professor of Anthropology Karen Nakamura (UC Berkeley)
May 13, 2019 | 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Humanities Gateway 1030

Click here to RSVP.

Technological utopianism and new eugenics exist at the core of much of the current research in the biomedical and engineering sciences around disability and aging in both Japan and the United States, and indeed is also reflected in social policy as well. There exist huge gulfs between how technologists, bioethicists, and disability activists imagine the emerging role of technologies and disability. Whereas the disability activism of the 1960s-2000s pushed the social model for changing the built and social environment, we are in a period where new futures exist where invalid fetuses are diagnosed, treated, or disposed of before birth; and existing disabled bodies and minds are given physical, neurological, and biochemical prosthetics to appear normate. The backdrop against positive futurities are societal fears and imagined dystopias of the disabled and/or augmented bodymind gone amok. How do we merge these crip futurities into visions of future societies?  


Prior to her Lecture, Professor Nakamura will lead a Medical Humanities Seminar
“Rethinking Disability Studies as more than just White Disability Studies: Intersections of Race/Gender/Sexuality and Non-Human Studies,” 

May 13, 2019 | 1:00-3:00 p.m.
Humanities Gateway 1341


Dr. Nakamura is a cultural and visual anthropologist who researches disability in contemporary Japan at the University of California, Berkeley. Her first project was on sign language, identity, and deaf social movements and resulted in a monograph and edited volume. After that, her second project was on schizophrenia and community-based recovery in Japan and this resulted in a book, its translation, and two films.

She is currently running the Berkeley Disability Lab and the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society Disability Studies research cluster while finishing a third project which explores the intersections of disability, gender, and sexuality, which will result in a book titled: Trans/Japan. After that, I she is working on a project on prosthetic, replacement, and augmentation technologies in contemporary Japan and the USA.




Monday, May 13, 2019
4:00 pm - 6:30 pm