Clones & Clones: The Politics of Reproductive Cloning

Womensst 297L
Fall 2003
Banu Subramaniam
Tu,Th: 11.15:12.30; Bartlett 127
Office Hours: Tu, Th: 10 -11 a.m
Phone: 577-3164; email:

I. Course Description

In recent years, we have seen a proliferation of reproductive technologies. Who uses these technologies? Who do they impact and how? Who benefits from them? Which women? This course explores the recent controversies around human reproductive cloning situated in the long history of the struggles around reproductive rights and technologies. In particular, it explores the "genomic" revolution and its implications for women and how race and class are central to any analysis on contemporary genetics and reproductive technologies. The course will examine the biology of cloning as well as its social, political, ethical, economic, and cultural implications.

II. Requirements

Class Participation: The quality of the course, and the value of the experience for all of us, depends upon careful preparation for class by each one of us. It is imperative that you attend all classes, complete the reading assignments before class, and be prepared to contribute to the class discussion. Your grade will be based on the quality (not to be confused with quantity) of your participation in class throughout the quarter. (20% of your grade). Attendance is required. More than three unexcused absences will result in a reduction of at least one letter grade.

Written Requirements: There will be four written assignments:

  1. One mid-term take-home exam based on the material we have covered in class till this time. Due in class Thursday, October 9 (20%)
  2. An analytic essay (4-5 pages) due in class Thursday, November 6 (20%)
  3. A critical evaluation (2 pages) of a student paper due Thursday, November 13 (10%)
  4. One final essay (10 pages) due in class Thursday, December 11, (30%)
  5. "Weird"/Amazing Science! Each class, a student(s) will report on recent innovations in genetics/ reproductive technology in the news. (You can sign up for a convenient date during the semester.)


Available at Food for Thought Books, E. Pleasant Street, Amherst

Books and Reader are On Reserve in the Library and the Women's Studies Office, (Bartlett 208).


September 4 -- INTRODUCTION

September 9 - Video: The Clone Age

September 11- Context of Cloning
Gina Kolata, "A Clone is Born" In Clone: The Road to Dolly and the Path Beyond, William Morrow, 1998, 1-21 (handout)
Richard Hayes, "The Science and Politics of Genetically Modified Humans" World Watch, July/August 2002, 11-12 (handout )
Thomas A. Shannon, Cloning Myths, Commonweal, April 10, 1998, 10-11 (handout)
Jonathan Colvin, "Me, My Clone, and I," The Humanist, May/June 2000 1-2. (handout)
Chris Bull, Send in the Clones, The Advocate, April 15, 1997: 37-38 (handout)

September 16 - Fiction and Fantasy: (Part V of C&C)
Lisa Tuttle, World of Strangers (C&C)
Felicia Ackerman, Flourish Your Heart in This World (C&C)
C. K. Williams, My Clone (C&C)
Martha C. Nussbaum, Little C (C&C)

September 18 - Commentary (Part II of C&C)
William Ian Miller, Sheep, Joking, Cloning and the Uncanny (C&C)
Adam Phillips, Sameness Is All (C&C)
Wendy Doniger, Sex and the Mythological Clone (C&C)
Andrea Dworkin, Sasha (C&C)
William N. Eskridge, and Edward Stein, Queer Clones (C&C)

September 23- Ethics (Part III of C&C)
Dan Brock, Cloning Human Beings; Assessment of the Ethical Pros and Cons (C&C)
David Tracy, Human Cloning and the Public Realm (C&C)
National Bioethics Advisory Commission: Religious Perspectives (C&C)

September 25 - Controversy
Francis Fukuyama, "In Defense of Nature, Human and Non-Human," World Watch, July/Aug 2002, 30-32 (CP)
Bill McKibben, "Why Environmentalists Should Be Concerned," World Watch, July/Aug 2002. 40-41. (CP)
John Gray, "The Unstoppable march of the clones," New Statesman 27-29. (CP)
Chris Mooney, "The Future is Later," The American Prospect, July 15, 2002, 10-11. (CP)
Michael Dorsey, "The New Eugenics," World Watch, July/August 2002. 21-23. (CP)
John Robertson, "Human Cloning and the Challenge of Regulation," and George Annas, "Why We Should Ban Human Cloning," New England Journal of Medicine, 119-125. (CP)

September 30 - Reproductive Technologies
Susan Squier, Negotiating Boundaries: From Assisted Reproduction to Assisted Replication," In Playing Dolly: Technocultural Formations, Fantasies, and Fictions of Assisted Reproduction, Ann Kaplan and Susan Squier eds., Routledge, 1999.101-113. (CP)
Ruth Hubbard and Stuart Newman, "Yuppie Eugenics," Z Mag, March 2002, (CP) Sarah Franklin, "Postmodern Procreation: A Cultural Account of Assisted Reproduction," In Conceiving the New World Order: The Global Politics of Reproduction, 323-339. (CP)

October 2- Reproductive Technologies contd.,
Lori Andrews, "Creating Life in the Lab," & "Monitoring Medicine," In The Clone Age, 12-49. (CP)
Dorothy Roberts, "Killing the Black Body: Introduction" In Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty, Pantheon Books, 1997 (CP)
Marie Aline Seabra Ferreira, "The Sexual Politics of Human Cloning: Mothering and Its Vicissitudes," Journal of the Association for Research on Mothering," 113- 124. (CP)

October 7 - The Politics of Reproductive Technologies
Guest: Betsy Hartmann, Population and Development Program, Hampshire College Gay Becker, "Confronting Notions of Normalcy," and "The Embattled Body," in The Elusive Embryo, 26-58. (CP)
Dorothy Roberts, "Race, and the New Reproduction," In Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty, Pantheon Books, 1997 (CP)

October 9- The Politics of Reproductive Technologies, contd.,
Robyn Weigman, Intimate Publics: Race, Property, and Personhood," American Literature, Volume 74, Number 4, 2002: 859-880. (CP)
Allison Stevens, "Cloning Debate Splits Women's Health Movement," Women in Action, March 31, 2003: 63-64. (CP)
Judith Levine, "What Human Genetic Modification Means for Women," World Watch, July/August 2002. (CP)
Jenny Teichman, "The grisly science of embryo cloning," New Criterion, June 2001: 84-90.
Take Home Exam Due

October 14- Introduction to Genetics
The Cartoon Book of Genetics - Pages 1-102

October 16- Introduction to Genetics
The Cartoon Book of Genetics - Pages 103- 209

October 21- Science (Part I in C&C)
Ian Wilmut et al, Viable Offspring Derived from Fetal and Adult Mammalian Cells (C&C)
National Bioethics Advisory Commission: Science and Application of Cloning (C&C)

October 23- Science (Part I in C&C) contd.,
Stephen Jay Gould, Dolly's Fashion and Louis's Passion (C&C)
Richard Dawkins, What's Wrong with Cloning? (C&C)
George Johnson, Soul Searching (C&C))

October 28 - Genetics in Context,
Richard Lewontin, "The DNA Era," GeneWatch: Council for Responsible Genetics, (CP)
David Moore, "What Galton's Eugenics has Wrought: Behavior Genetics and Heritability," and "Dependent Genes: Essential Biology and DNA," In The Dependent Gene: The Fallacy of Nature vs. Nurture, W. H. Freeman and Co., 2002. (CP)

October 30- Narratives of Genes
Stephanie Turner, "Jurassic Park Technology in the Bioinformatics Economy: How Cloning Narratives Negotiate the Telos of DNA," American Literature, Vol. 74, 2002: 887-904. (CP)

November 4 - Boys From Brazil, (out of class screening)

November 6- Boys From Brazil, Movie Discussion -
Dorothy Nelkin & Susan Lindee, Cloning in the Popular Imagination, In The Cloning Sourcebook, Arlene Judith Klotzko ed., Oxford University Press, 2003. (CP)
Deborra Battaglia, "Multiplicities: An Anthropologist's Thoughts on Replicants and Clones in Popular Film, Critical Inquiry, Spring 2001, Vol. 27.
Analytic Essay Due: For this essay, select a report on a scientific experiment/discovery in recent years
that you find amazing/weird/bizarre! Write a 5-page, double spaced essay on the experiment, explaining why you selected it and explore what impact you think this experiment/discovery can potentially have on humanity. Be sure to attach the report you selected to your paper. Include a 5 line abstract on the scientific discovery/experiment.


November 13- Brave New World - Discussion
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World (text) - Chapters 1-10, Pages 1-152
Critical Evaluation Due: On Nov. 6, you will exchange your paper with another student. Critically analyze and evaluate the paper. Has s/he understood the material? If yes, why? If not, why not? Has s/he analyzed the experiment sufficiently? What insights have they not considered? Have they made a persuasive case? How could the student have further developed the paper? What grade would you give the paper? (2 page evaluation)

November 18 - Brave New World discussion
Guest: David Lenson, Comparative Literature, UMass
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World - Chapters 11-18, Pages 152-259.
Aldous Huxley, "What Can Be Done? In Brave New World Revisited, Harper & Row, 1958. 108-18. (CP)

November 20- Debate
Leon R. Kass, "Preventing a Brave New World," The Human Life Review, 2001:14-35. (CP)
Russell Blackford, "Who's Afraid of the Brave New World?" Quadrant, May 2003: 9-15. (CP)

November 25 - Law and Public Policy, Part IV of C&C
Cass R. Sunstein, The Constitution and the Clone (C&C)
Lawrence Tribe, On Not Banning Cloning for the Wrong Reasons (C&C)
Eric A. Posner and Richard Posner, The Demand for Human Cloning (C&C)

December 2 - Law and Public Policy, Part IV of C&C
Richard Epstein, A Rush to Caution: Cloning Human Beings (C&C)
Barbara Rothman, On Order (C&C)
National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Recommendations (C&C)
Richard Lewontin, The Confusion Over Cloning, In The Triple Helix: Gene, Organism, Environment. Harvard University Press, 2000. (CP)

December 4- Sameness and Difference
Gay Becker, "Rewriting the Family," In The Elusive Embryo: How Men and Women Approach Reproductive Technology, University of California Press, 2000. 26-58. (CP)
Philomena Essed and David Theo Goldberg, "Cloning Cultures: the Social Injustices of Sameness," Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol. 25, No. 6, 2002, 1066-1082. (CP)
Christina Stolba, "Overcoming Motherhood: Pushing the Limits of Reproductive Choice" Policy Review, January 2003: 31-41.

December 9- Class Presentations

December 11- Class Presentations & Conclusion
Final Paper Due: Imagine you are in the Year 2050. What would reproduction in this world look like? Based on the readings, for the final paper, explore what the future may look like fifty years from now. This paper is divided into two components. For the first, develop a creative representation of reproduction in the Year 2050 (you could write a play, short story, fictional scene, poem, drawing, cartoon, picture, film etc.) For this component, you can work individually or in a group of your choosing of any size. Text should be about 5 pages long. For the second component, analyze the creative piece you have developed. What are the shifts? How do they impact reproduction? How are different women impacted by innovations in the next fifty years? The second component should be done individually. Make sure to incorporate course readings and demonstrate your knowledge of the material. The analytic portion of the paper should be 5 pages long.