Bioethics, Human Monsters, and Frankenfoods: Global Monster Narratives and Emerging Technologies

Joan McGregor, Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Rebecca Tsosie, Regents' Professor and Willard H Pedrick Distinguished Research Scholar, Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, Executive Director, Indian Legal Program

Academic Year: 
2015 to 2016
Fellow Type: 
IHR Fellows

This project is intended to examine the legal and ethical implications of emerging technologies, including human enhancement technologies and bio-engineering of food resources. The baseline methodology for this inquiry will involve an exploration of traditional “Monster” narratives from various cultures, including Indigenous cultures, and a comparison of these narratives with western Monster narratives. We will ask: What can traditional monster narratives tell us about the ethical and legal responses to emerging technologies on humans and foods? We hope to identify the range of legal and ethical views on emerging technologies that implicate the themes of what is “human” and “natural” versus what is a “desecration,” or “monstrosity” in that it violates “natural” law. We will use these insights to generate a set of questions and a corresponding set of suggestions to guide policy development in this area.

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