Epigenetic Landscapes: Drawings as Metaphor

Duke University Press
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Devised in the 1940s by the biologist C. H. Waddington, the epigenetic landscape is a metaphor for how gene regulation modulates cellular development. As a scientific model, it fell out of use in the late 1960s but returned at the beginning of the twenty-first century with the advent of big-data genomic research because of its utility among scientists across the life sciences to think more creatively about and to discuss genetics. In Epigenetic Landscapes Susan Merrill Squier follows the model’s cultural trail, from its first visualization by the artist John Piper to its use beyond science. Squier examines three cases in which the metaphor has been imaginatively deployed to illustrate complex systems that link scientific and cultural practices: graphic medicine, landscape architecture, and bioArt. Challenging reductive understandings of epigenetics, Squier boldly reclaims the broader significance of the epigenetic landscape as a figure at the nexus of art, design, and science.
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About the author

Susan Merrill Squier is Brill Professor Emerita of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and English at Pennsylvania State University. Her many books include Communities of the Air: Radio Century, Radio Culture and Liminal Lives: Imagining the Human at the Frontiers of Biomedicine, both also published by Duke University Press; Poultry Science, Chicken Culture: A Partial Alphabet; and, as coauthor, Graphic Medicine Manifesto.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Nov 3, 2017
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Pages
280
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ISBN
9780822372608
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Language
English
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Genres
Science / Life Sciences / Genetics & Genomics
Social Science / Feminism & Feminist Theory
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A pioneering analysis of radio as both a cultural and material production, Communities of the Air explores radio’s powerful role in shaping Anglo-American culture and society since the early twentieth century. Scholars and radio writers, producers, and critics look at the many ways radio generates multiple communities over the air—from elite to popular, dominant to resistant, canonical to transgressive. The contributors approach radio not only in its own right, but also as a set of practices—both technological and social—illuminating broader issues such as race relations, gender politics, and the construction of regional and national identities.

Drawing on the perspectives of literary and cultural studies, science studies and feminist theory, radio history, and the new field of radio studies, these essays consider the development of radio as technology: how it was modeled on the telephone, early conflicts between for-profit and public uses of radio, and amateur radio (HAMS), local programming, and low-power radio. Some pieces discuss how radio gives voice to different cultural groups, focusing on the BBC and poetry programming in the West Indies, black radio, the history of alternative radio since the 1970s, and science and contemporary arts programming. Others look at radio’s influence on gender (and gender’s influence on radio) through examinations of Queen Elizabeth’s broadcasts, Gracie Allen’s comedy, and programming geared toward women. Together the contributors demonstrate how attention to the variety of ways radio is used and understood reveals the dynamic emergence and transformation of communities within the larger society.


Contributors. Laurence A. Breiner, Bruce B. Campbell, Mary Desjardins, Lauren M. E. Goodlad, Nina Hunteman, Leah Lowe, Adrienne Munich, Kathleen Newman, Martin Spinelli, Susan Merrill Squier, Donald Ulin, Mark Williams, Steve Wurzler

Embryo adoptions, stem cells capable of transforming into any cell in the human body, intra- and inter-species organ transplantation—these and other biomedical advances have unsettled ideas of what it means to be human, of when life begins and ends. In the first study to consider the cultural impact of the medical transformation of the entire human life span, Susan Merrill Squier argues that fiction—particularly science fiction—serves as a space where worries about ethically and socially charged scientific procedures are worked through. Indeed, she demonstrates that in many instances fiction has anticipated and paved the way for far-reaching biomedical changes. Squier uses the anthropological concept of liminality—the state of being on the threshold of change, no longer one thing yet not quite another—to explore how, from the early twentieth century forward, fiction and science together have altered not only the concept of the human being but the contours of human life.

Drawing on archival materials of twentieth-century biology; little-known works of fiction and science fiction; and twentieth- and twenty-first century U.S. and U.K. government reports by the National Institutes of Health, the Parliamentary Advisory Group on the Ethics of Xenotransplantation, and the President’s Council on Bioethics, she examines a number of biomedical changes as each was portrayed by scientists, social scientists, and authors of fiction and poetry. Among the scientific developments she considers are the cultured cell, the hybrid embryo, the engineered intrauterine fetus, the child treated with human growth hormone, the process of organ transplantation, and the elderly person rejuvenated by hormone replacement therapy or other artificial means. Squier shows that in the midst of new phenomena such as these, literature helps us imagine new ways of living. It allows us to reflect on the possibilities and perils of our liminal lives.

To Virginia Woolf, London was a source of creative inspiration, a setting for many of her works, and a symbol of the culture in which she lived and wrote. In a 1928 diary entry, she observed, "London itself perpetually attracts, stimulates, gives me a play & a story & a poem, without any trouble, save that of moving my legs through the streets." The city fascinated Woolf, yet her relationship with it was problematic. In her attempts to resolve her developmental struggles as a woman write in a patriarchal society, Woolf shaped and reshaped the image and meaning of London.

Using psychoanalytic, feminist, and social theories, Susan Squier explores the transformed meaning of the city in Woolf's essays, memoirs, and novels as it functions in the creation of a mature feminist vision. Squier shows that Woolf's earlier works depict London as a competitive patriarchal environment that excluded her, but her mature works portray the city as beginning to accept the force of female energy. Squier argues that this transformation was made possible by Woolf's creative ability to appropriate and revise the masculine literary and cultural forms of her society. The act of writing, or "scene making," allowed Woolf to break from her familial and cultural heritage and recreate London in her own literary voice and vision.

Virginia Woolf and London is based on analyses of Woolf's memoirs, her little-known early and mature London essays, Night and Day, Mrs. Dalloway, Flush, and The Years. By focusing on Woolf's changing attitudes about the city, Squier is able to define Woolf's evolving belief that women could "reframe" the city-scape and use it to imagine and create a more egalitarian world. Squier's study offers significant new insights into the interplay between self and society as it shapes the work of a woman writer.

Originally published in 1985.

A UNC Press Enduring Edition -- UNC Press Enduring Editions use the latest in digital technology to make available again books from our distinguished backlist that were previously out of print. These editions are published unaltered from the original, and are presented in affordable paperback formats, bringing readers both historical and cultural value.

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