Who Do You Think You Are? Modern Identities Between Genes and Rebirths, India c. 1950s-1980s

June 12, 2018 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Associate Professor of History and the Sociology of Science
School of Arts and Sciences
World Cafe Live Upstairs 3025 Walnut St.

What makes us who we are? Is it our genes? Or is it in fact our memories? Projit Bihari Mukharji will discuss how, in newly-independent India two new sciences, genetics and parapsychology, both tried to answer this question in their distinctive ways. At the time both the disciplines were themselves also struggling to define their identities. Even as the quests for disciplinary identities were interlaced with the quest to define human identities scientifically, their political resonances with identity politics and nation-building were too obvious to ignore. As scientists, their methods and their questions moved between these various levels; scientific questions about human identity also became questions about the identity of science itself.