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March 1998


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"Christian C. Young" <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Christian C. Young
Mon, 2 Mar 1998 20:15:48 -0600
text/plain (62 lines)
Note:  We hope the following is the first in a series of proposals for sessions
for the 1999 meeting in Mexico!

------------ Forwarded Message begins here ------------
From: "peter j. taylor" <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Mon, 2 Mar 1998 13:51:00 -0500

"Genes, Gestation, and Life Experiences: Perspectives on the Social
Environment in the Age of DNA"
Call for papers for a session proposed for the July 1999 ISHPPSB meetings.

Everyone "knows" that genes and environment interact, but, in this Age of
DNA, genetics is often seen as the way to expose the important or root
causes of behavior and disease and as the necessary basis of effective
therapeutic technologies.  The dominance of genetics is also reflected
within STS.  Critical light has been shed on the history, semantic
complexity, ethics and other dimensions of genetics, yet very little STS
scholarship concerns the sciences of, for example, educational
interventions or psychological development.  In general, the "environment"
is underexamined and construed in simple terms.  Nevertheless, several
scientific currents are bringing the environment, in different variants,
back into the picture.  In evolutionary biology, a great deal of attention
is now given to the plasticity of phenotypes across a range of
environments.  Developmental biology, filling the gap between genes and the
characters they shape, is experiencing a rennaissance.  Although the field
still focuses mainly on embryological or early development, the influence
of the environment is now acknowledged even for those stages.  Behavioral
genetics, once firmly directed towards establishing the heritability of
traits, now highlights the effects of "non-shared" environmental
influences, i.e., those not experienced equally by members of the same
family.  Among such non-shared influences, Sulloway has argued that birth
order may be a key factor in explaining conformity to or rebellion against
authority in intellectual and other spheres of social life.  In short, the
stage is set for STS scholars to examine the complexities of the
"environment."  What meanings are given to the term, and how have these
changed over time and in response to criticism?  What is measured and what
is explained?  What methodologies are employed for collecting data and
making inferences?  What is the status of the different sciences and social
sciences involved?  How are these colored by past and present associations
with political currents?  With these questions in mind, this session aims
to enrich scientific and popular discussion about the contribution of the
environment to the development of behavioral and medical conditions over
any individual's lifetime.

If you are interested in contributing a paper to this session -- or know
someone who might be -- please contact:
Peter J. Taylor
Lang Visiting Professor for Social Change
Swarthmore College
Swarthmore, PA 19081, USA
phone: 610-690-6858 (o); 328-8663 (fax)
email: [log in to unmask]

------------ Forwarded Message ends here ------------

**  Christian C. Young                       **
**  History of Science and General Science   **
**  Mount Angel Seminary                     **
**  [log in to unmask]                       **
**           **