Although humans share 99.5% of their genes, there may be much variation that is interesting, even profitable, in the remaining 0.5%.  Companies now market race-specific medications, vitamins, and cosmetics.  Competing laboratories offer genetic analyses for ancestry and forensics.  Will this commodification of racial science help the targeted populations and society at large?  Should this commercialization of racial difference be endorsed or sanctioned?  Drawing on history, anthropology, law, ethics, medicine, economics, and sociology, this conference explores the promise and pitfalls of the new business of race and science.

The emergence of BiDil® as the first medication approved and marketed for treating specific racial and ethnic groups raises many crucial questions for medicine and society. Do the causes of disease vary significantly between different racial and ethnic groups? Should other group-specific medications be developed? Should treatment decisions be based on the race and ethnicity of patients? Many of these questions reflect old tensions in medicine, made newly relevant by growing concerns with health disparities, the advent of genetic technology, and the intensification of pharmaceutical marketing. This conference brings together scholars from many fields -- medicine, history, anthropology, nursing, sociology, STS, genetics, public health, business, African-American studies, ethics, and law -- to discuss the promise and pitfalls of the new racial therapeutics in medicine.


FRIDAY, 30 March 2007


8:30–9:00 Continental Breakfast


9:00–9:20 Welcome and Introductory Remarks
David Jones


9:20–10:20 INVITED LECTURE: Mike Fortun
Race in the Meantime: The “Care for the Data” for Complex Conditions



10:20–10:30 Break



10:30–12:15 PANEL 1: The Business of Race and Ancestry


Commercial Ventures in Genetic Ancestry Testing and the Science of Racial Genetics
Deborah Bolnick


Race, Genetic Ancestry, and the Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Brazil
Ricardo Santos and Marcos Chor Maio


To Count Is to Be Counted: Exploring Alignments Between Census, Race, and Health in Contemporary Britain
Richard Tutton


12:15–1:00 Lunch


1:00–2:45 PANEL 2: Debating Race in Biomedicine


The Business of Racial Criticism in Biomedical Research
George Ellison and Simon M. Outram


Physicians’ Attitudes Regarding Race-Based Therapeutics
Danielle Frank and others


“It Could Be in the Genes”:  Alzheimer’s Disease and the Practice of (Re)Membering Personhood
Mateo Munoz


2:45-3:00 Break


3:00–4:45 PANEL 3: Debating Race in Clinical Trials


deCODE, Veliflapon, and GRAHF: Efforts to Identify Genetic-Based Approaches to CVD Reduction in African Americans
Keith Ferdinand


Metaphors, Mentality and the Manufacture of Knowledge:  The PAARTNERS Study into Schizophrenia
Andrew Fearnley


Killer Applications: Clinical Trials, Race, and the Metabolic Syndrome
Anthony Hatch


4:45-5:00 Break


5:00–6:00 KEYNOTE ADDRESS: Keith Wailoo


6:00–7:00 Reception


SATURDAY, 31 March 2007  8 April 2006


8:30–9:00 Continental Breakfast 


9:00–10:00 INVITED LECTURE: Frank Douglas


10:00–10:10 Break


10:10–12:30 PANEL 4: Genetic Research, Vulnerable Populations, and the Law


Intellectual Property, Human Rights, and Indigenous Perspectives
Gail Lasprogata


Prisons as Biocolonies: Race, Biomedicine, and the Ethics of Using Prisoners as Research Subjects
Osagie Obasogie


Race, Genetics, and Forensic Analysis
Hilary Robinson


Commercializing Race: People as Patents
Lori Andrews


Patenting Race
Jonathan Kahn


12:30–1:15 Lunch


1:15–3:00 PANEL 5: Racial Commodities


‘Solaro’ and Selling Protection from the Tropical Sun:
British Ideas of Medicine and Hygiene in Warm Climates, 1900-1920
Ryan Johnson


The Fair, the Dark and the Ugly:  Mediating the Interests of Technology, Business,
and Societies in Third World Economies
Nirajan Man Singh and Aakash Prasad


Kampo: A Racial Science/Business
Wen Hua Kuo


3:00-3:15 Break


3:15–5:00 PANEL 6: Selling the Racialized Past


Packaging Race for Students: How Biology Textbooks Sell Human Difference
Ann Morning


Salt Sensitivity and the Middle Passage
Roland Fryer


Race, Populations, and the New Genomics
Lundy Braun and Evelynn Hammonds


 5:00–5:30 Concluding Remarks


5:30–6:30 Reception


Mike Fortun is a historian and anthropologist of science who focuses on the
science and political economy of contemporary genomics. His book Promising
Genomics: Iceland, deCODE Genetics, and a World of Speculation, using the
deCODE case to analyze the growth of the genomics industry in the volatile
years of 1998-2001, will be published by the University of California Press in
2007. His current ethnographic project is as a member of a "transdisciplinary"
research group examining how genomics research can address health disparities
in asthma and nicotine dependence. He is co-editor, with Kim Fortun, of the
journal Cultural Anthropology.

Deborah Bolnick is a Lecturer and Research Fellow in the Dept of Anthropology
at the University of Texas at Austin. She received her Ph.D. in Anthropology
from the University of California, Davis. Her research explores the relationship
between human culture, history, and genetic variation, as well as the ways
that American ideas about race influence genetic ancestry research.

Ricardo Ventura Santos is a biological anthropologist who received his PhD
from Indiana University (1991). He is professor of biological anthropology and
public health at the National School of Public Health of the Oswaldo Cruz
Foundation, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His most recent book is "The Xavante in
Transition: Health, Ecology and Bioanthropology in Central Brazil" (University of
Michigan Press), which was awarded the 2003 General Anthropology Award for
Exemplary Cross-Field Scholarship, General Anthropology Division, American
Anthropological Association.

Marcos Chor Maio is a sociologist and political scientist who received his PhD
from the Candido Mendes University, Rio de Janeiro (1997). He is professor of
sociology and history of science at the History of Science Unit of the Oswaldo
Cruz Foundation. He has published widely on the sociology and history of race
relations in Brazil.

Richard Tutton is a sociologist with research interests in the themes of
identity, personhood, and citizenship in relation to science and technology,
particularly human genetics. He has published on the donation of human tissue
for biomedical research, public and patient participation in science, and
geneticists’ use of race/ethnicity in their research. In 2004, he co-edited
Genetic Databases (Routledge: London and New York) that explored the social,
ethical and legal aspects of biobanks.

George Ellison is Professor of Health Sciences at St George's, University of
London where his research focuses on social inequalities in health and the use
of race/ethnicity in related biomedical research. This culminated in a
collection of articles entitled "The Nature of Difference: Science, Society and
Human Biology" which he co-edited with Alan Goodman and was published by
Taylor and Francis in 2006. His current work in this area includes a
collaborative project on the use of race/ethnicity by biobanks and
pharmacogenomics research with colleagues from Nottingham University,
Queen Mary's College and Bath Spa University funded by the Wellcome Trust.

Simon Outram

Danielle Frank is an internal medicine physician currently completing a
Master's Degree in Public Health at the University of Washington. She
completed her internal medicine residency training and outpatient chief
medical residency year at the University of Washington and Veteran's Affairs
Hospital Puget Sound respectively. She is currently a Health Services Research
Department Fellow at the VA Puget Sound. Danielle's research interests
include exploring physicians' perspectives on race-based medicine and their
implications for medical education.

Mateo Munoz is a second year graduate student in American Studies at the
University of Maryland College Park. His research interests are risk, memory,
and the mind/body "problem." Mateo is currently examining how cognition,
race and diagnostics reconfigure personhood in relationship to Alzheimer's

Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, FACC is a Clinical Professor of Medicine at Emory
University, and Chief Science Officer and past-Chairman of the Association of
Black Cardiologists, Inc. He was on the steering committee of the A-HeFT and
DeCODE study and is board certified in cardiovascular diseases, ASH-specialist
in hypertension and a diplomat, nuclear cardiology. His medical degree is from
Howard University.

Andrew Fearnley is a Ph.D. Candidate in American History at the University of
Cambridge, UK, currently writing his thesis on 'Ideas of Race and Insanity in the
Modern United States.' He has published articles on historians of race and
medicine in the Journal of Medicine and Allied Sciences, and, forthcoming, in
the Social History of Medicine Journal.

Anthony Hatch is a PhD Candidate in Sociology at the University of Maryland at
College Park. He received his A.B. in Philosophy at Dartmouth College.
Anthony currently holds an ASA/NIHM Minority Fellowship. His doctoral
research traces the coproduction of the metabolic syndrome and racial
categories through contemporary biomedical scientific practices.

Keith Wailoo, a historian of race and medicine, is a professor in the
Department of History and the Institute for Health, Health Care Policy and
Aging Research at Rutgers University. He has authored many books, including
Drawing Blood, Dying in the City of Blues, and The Troubled Gene of Genetic
Medicine. He is currently working on a history of cancer and race in the United
States, and a history of pain management since World War II.

Frank Douglas is the Executive Director of the MIT Center for Biomedical
Innovation. Born in British Guiana, he received his Ph.D. in Chemistry and his
M.D. from Cornell University. He trained in Internal Medicine at Johns Hopkins
Hospital and completed a fellowship in neuroendocrinology at NIH. After
teaching at the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, we
worked at Ciba Geigy than then Aventis SA, where he was Chief Scientific
Officer and Executive Vice President for Drug Innovation and Approval. In
addition to his work at MIT, he serves on many government and industry
advisory boards.

Gail Lasprogata is an Associate Professor at the Seattle University’s Albers
School of Business and Economics where she teaches business and international
law courses to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as courses in
corporate social responsibility to executive MBA students. Her research focuses
on international human rights and corporate social responsibility. Her recent
interest in the intersection of law, culture, and science stems from her
previous work on genetics and privacy law, coupled with her passion for
learning about indigenous traditions and spirituality.

Osagie Obasogie is a bioethicist with the Center for Genetics and Society in
Oakland, CA. His work looks at the ethical, social, and legal implications of
human biotechnologies, with a particular focus on their impact on communities
of color. He is also a regular contributor to the blog Biopolitical Times, located
at Obasogie is a graduate of Yale University
and Columbia Law School, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and an
editor for the National Black Law Journal.

H. C. Robinson is the Reginald F. Lewis Fellow for Law Teaching at Harvard
Law School where her research focuses on the transformation of norms by
scientific innovation, and the use of law to modulate and mediate this process.
In her law studies, she has explored the impact of paternity testing, sperm and
ovum donation, and surrogacy arrangements on legal doctrines that presuppose
the heterosexual, nuclear family as the sole basis for lawful kinship. The law
itself, she concluded, acts like a specialized technology, relying on normative
understandings of kinship, such as intent to create a family, rather than on
biological certainties like genetic relatedness, to reframe what science makes
possible (reproduction) as an outcome both legally viable and socially
significant (parenthood). In her continuing scholarly work, she is interested in
bringing a multidisciplinary approach into those aspects of the law curriculum
that intersect most closely with scientific innovation.

Lori Andrews is a distinguished professor of law at Chicago-Kent Law School
and Director of the Institute for Science, Law and Technology. She has been
visiting professor at Princeton University, and an advisor to Congress, foreign
governments, and various federal agencies. Her most recent books include:
Genetics: Ethics, Law and Policy (with Mark Rothstein and Maxwell Mehlman);
and, Body Bazaar: The Market for Human Tissue in the Biotechnology Age
(with Dorothy Nelkin).

Holding a PhD in History from Cornell University and a JD from Boalt Hall School
of at UC Berkeley, Jonathan Kahn writes on issues in history, politics, and
law. He specializes in biotechnology and its implications for our ideas of
identity and citizenship. Professor Kahn has written several articles on BiDil
and related issues of using racial cateogries in biomedical research and product
development, including "How a Drug Becomes Ethnic: Law, Commerce and the
Production of Racial Categories in Medicine," published in the Yale Journal of
Health Policy, Law & Ethics. In 2003 he was awarded a grant from the National
Institutes of Health to support a project titled: "Colliding Categories:
Haplotypes, Race, and Ethnicity." He is currently working on issues related to
the increasing use of racial categories in biotechnology-related patents.
Ryan Johnson is a PhD candidate at the Wellcome unit for the history of
medicine, University of Oxford, working on ideas of British tropical medicine
and hygiene with Professor Mark Harrison. He is currently looking at material
and consumer culture relating to tropical travel, and the Baptist Missionary
Society in the Congo Free State at the beginning of the twentieth century. He
is also interested in tropical surgery and military surgeons.

Nirajan Man Singh is a third year law student of the five year B.A.BL(Hons.)
course at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research Hyderabad,
India. A Cambridge Advance level graduate,(UK) his primary focus after he
joined law school has been the interplay of law and technology in the ambit
of broader social issues.

Aakash Prasad, is a third year law student of the five year B.A.B.L. (Hons.)
course at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, Hyderabad,
India. His primary area of interest is Alternative Dispute Resolution in the
background of social engineering. He has done a large number of research
projects, internships, and papers in this area.

Wen-Hua Kuo teaches at National Yang-Ming University, where he holds a joint
instructorship at the Center for General Education and Department of Social
Medicine. His research interests include medical policies and their social
impacts in East Asia. He has published papers on Taiwan’s population control
policy and is currently working on a manuscript concerning the debates over
racial differences in the International Conference on Harmonisation of
Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use
drug regulations.

Ann Morning, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at New York
University, earned her Ph.D. in Sociology at Princeton University in 2004. Her
doctoral thesis, which traced the definitions of race that are conveyed to the
public through formal education, was a co-winner of the American Sociological
Association’s 2005 Dissertation Award. Morning’s interests include the uses of
racial classification in demography, law, medicine and genetic research, with a
particular focus on the categorization of the multiracial population and of
immigrant groups.

Roland Fryer is an assistant professor of economics at Harvard University, a
faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research, and a
junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows. He has published papers on
topics such as the racial achievement gap, the causes and consequences of
distinctively black names, affirmative action, the impact of the crack cocaine
epidemics, and ‘acting white.’ He is an unapologestic analyst of racial
inequality who uses theoretical and empirical tools to squeeze truths from the
data -- wherever that may lead. His work has been profiled in Fortune,
Esquire, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and
Black Voices.

Lundy Braun is an Associate Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
and Africana Studies and a member of the Faculty Committee on Science and
Technology Studies at Brown University. She received her PhD from Johns
Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1982. Her research
focuses on the history of race and science and the invisibility of occupational
disease, especially asbestos-related diseases in South Africa. She is currently
working on a monograph on the history of racialization of the technology for
measuring lung capacity.

Evelynn Hammonds founded the Center for the Study of Diversity in Science,
Technology, and Medicine at MIT. She is now Professor of History of Science
and of African and African-American Studies, and Senior Vice Provost for
Faculty Development and Diversity at Harvard University.

s. e. anderson (author of "The Black Holocaust for Beginners" - Writers + Readers) +