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Genetic politics in Phi Beta Kappa talk

November 22, 2016

"The recent development of genomic science raises new questions about free will and determinism, links between genetic inheritance and social contexts, the meaning of race," and other social issues, according to Harvard scholar Jennifer Hochschild. Her studies delve into why liberals, who usually endorse and respect science, are often wary of genomics, while conservatives, who tend to be more dismissive of scientific data, are often enthusiastic about this particular technology.

Hochschild will be at Skidmore as a Phi Beta Kappa Visiting Scholar on Thursday and Friday, Dec. 1 and 2. She will deliver a lecture, free and open to the public, in Gannett Auditorium at 8 p.m. on Dec. 1, and she will engage with students and faculty in classrooms and other venues.

Hochschild PBK lecturer
PBK speaker Jennifer Hochschild

The Jayne Professor of Government at Harvard and a scholar of African and African-American studies, Hochschild researches ethnicity, immigration, and the political ramifications of genomics. Her books include Creating a New Racial Order: How Immigration, Multiracialism, Genomics, and the Young Can Remake Race in America. Her work includes studying policy disputes within racial and ethnic groups.

She also explores the control and use of information in politics. In her 2016 book, Do Facts Matter? Information and Misinformation in American Politics, she and her coauthor look at cases such as the debate over global warming, the case for invading Iraq, and beliefs about Barack Obama's birthplace and religion.

Hochschild is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was the founding editor of Perspectives on Politics. She has received fellowships or grants from the Library of Congress and the Guggenheim, Robert Wood Johnson, and Spencer foundations among others. Her bachelor's degree is from Oberlin and her Ph.D. from Yale.

Phi Beta Kappa's Visiting Scholar Program, now in its 61st year, will send 15 scholars to 110 campuses in 2016–17.

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