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Near-Humans, Cloned Monkeys, & CRISPR Babies: Productive Uncertainty in China’s Quest for Biosecurity

September 24, 2020

The Social Science Research Council invites applications to participate in an exclusive seminar on “Near-Humans, Cloned Monkeys, & CRISPR Babies: Productive Uncertainty in China’s Quest for Biosecurity” led by the Council’s 2020 SSRC Fellow, Professor Aihwa Ong. The seminar will take place via Zoom on Thursday, September 24, 2020, from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. eastern time.

The SSRC Fellow initiative invites distinguished scholars to the Council to strengthen research and programming in the areas in which we currently work or aspire to work. Professor Ong will be in virtual residency at the Council from September 23–25, 2020, during which time she will also give a public lecture on the same theme as the seminar.

This is an exclusive opportunity open only to advanced graduate students and junior faculty of the member institutions of the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences.

The Social Science Research Council’s College and University Fund for the Social Sciences is a consortium of higher education partners providing annual support to the SSRC to enhance the infrastructure of global social science research, catalyze interdisciplinary and cross-institutional collaborations, and help launch the careers of junior scholars through fellowships, workshops, and mentorship. For more information on the College and University Fund, please contact CUF@ssrc.org or call (718) 517-3713.

Seminar Abstract

Anthropological inquiry enhances STS (science, technology, and society studies) by analyzing the diversity of contexts and perspectives that participate in contemporary knowledge-making processes. The focal point for the discipline concerns how values and beliefs about being human mutate and what modes of living and forms of life modernity subsequently puts at stake. Reflexive ethnographic research illuminates how specific cases and contingent circumstances connect to big questions and situated practices contribute to globalized change. Ong’s approach has always been poised at the intersections of particularity and globality, difference and interconnectivity, human and nonhuman, and stability and uncertainty. Such a vantage point analyzes how Asia’s emerging biomedical sites productively engage and transform contemporary science through a process of de- and recontextualization, thus making it cosmopolitan.


Advanced graduate students and junior faculty in the social sciences are invited to attend. Attendees must be affiliated with one of the member institutions of the College and University Fund for the Social Sciences. Please RSVP to CUF@ssrc.org, with the subject line “SSRC Fellow Ong Seminar.” Our program staff will contact you with the Zoom details for the seminar. For more information, please contact us at CUF@ssrc.org.

About Aihwa Ong

Aihwa Ong is professor of anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley. She is a member of the Science Council of the International Panel on Social Progress. Ong has published on a range of topics including the anthropology of labor, governance, sovereignty, cities, citizenship, life sciences, and experimental art in the Asia-Pacific. She has lectured internationally and been invited to the World Economic Forum. Her awards include grants from the MacArthur Foundation and the National Science Foundation, and some book prizes. Ong is the author of five works: Fungible Life: Experiment in the Asian City of Life (2016); Neoliberalism as Exception: Mutations in Citizenship and Sovereignty (2006); Buddha Is Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, the New America (2003); Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality (1999); and Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline: Factory Women in Malaysia (1986).