Some writers have celebrated a new biological citizenship arising from individuals’ unprecedented ability to manage their health at the molecular level. In this year’s Helen Pond McIntyre ’48 lecture, Dorothy Roberts examines the role of race and gender in the construction of this new biocitizen in light of the current expansion of race-based, reproductive, and genetic biotechnologies along with neoliberal reliance on private resources for people’s welfare. Roberts argues that science, big business, and politics are converging to support a molecularized understanding of race, health, and citizenship that ultimately helps to preserve inequities.
Dorothy Roberts is the Penn Integrates Knowledge/George A. Weiss University Professor, the Raymond Pace and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander Professor of Civil Rights, and Professor of Sociology at University of Pennsylvania. An internationally recognized scholar, public intellectual, and social justice advocate, she has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of gender, race, and class in legal issues and has been a leader in transforming public thinking and policy on reproductive health, child welfare, and bioethics.