Global Genetic Fictions

Article Summary by Clare Barker

In ‘Global Genetic Fictions’, Clare Barker introduces the concerns of the special issue. This special issue explores cultural representations of genes, the human genome and genetic science in a range of artforms and genres, including poetry, genre fiction, rap music, TED talks, popular science, historical fiction and postcolonial literature. The ‘genetic fictions’ explored in these texts refer not only to works of literary fiction, but also to the entangled scientific and cultural narratives about genetics that circulate in media and popular culture, and that help to shape emerging public discourse and scientific priorities. In focusing on the ‘global’, articles in this issue also address the uneven distribution of genetic biotechnology around the globe and the racial and cultural politics of genetic science. The articles cover a range of topics including genetic editing, prenatal diagnosis, ‘genome time’, the historicization of genetic science, epigenetics, and questions of ancestry, race, and kinship.


Clare BarkerClare Barker is Associate Professor of English Literature at the University of Leeds, UK. She is the author of Postcolonial Fiction and Disability: Exceptional Children, Metaphor and Materiality (2011) and the co-editor of the Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability (2017). Her research focuses on postcolonial and Indigenous literatures, disability studies, and medical humanities, and she is currently working on representations of genetics and biocolonialism in contemporary literature and film.

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