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The Medium Question of Genomics

Date: Monday, February 25th, 2019

Time: 12:30p.m.-1:30 p.m.

Location: BSB 104

Guest Speaker: Mél Hogan

Bio: Mél Hogan is an Assistant Professor (Environmental Media) at the University of Calgary, Canada. She is [slowly] writing a book about genomics in the cloud. Leading up to this, her research has been on the social and environmental impacts of Big Tech’s server farms and data centers. She has published her work in journals like Television & New Media, Ephemera, First Monday, and Big Data & Society, and edited special journal issues on the topic for Imaginations: Journal of Cross-Cultural Image Studies and Culture Machine (forthcoming). She is also an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Communication (2019-2021); the Canadian Communication Association Board Secretary (2016-2019); a founding co-member of the ‘Genomics, Bioinformatics and the Climate Crisis’ working group at the Calgary Institute for the Humanities; and was recently awarded a SSHRC Insight Development Grant entitled “Storing Genomic Data: New Media-Historical Contexts for “Coding Life”.”

Abstract: This talk delves into human genomics as an object of critical media studies. I explore the tools and technological advances of the last two decades that ‘make’ the gene – make it conceptual, visible, editable – and that have, in turn, spawned a global field of genomics science research, and a billion dollar industry for its deployments. I begin my talk with debates that situate genomics within the ‘soft’ sciences, and then, by framing genomics in informational and computational terms, discuss the mediation of genomics through code, databases, and microarrays. The talk concludes with a reflection on both the early-stage methodological queries that have emerged, and a discussion about future directions for the project, including an analysis of genomics pipelines and cloud storage – and invites audience feedback.

**Pizza will be provided**