Bioethics Blogs

In the Journals Oct 2015 – Part 1 by Francis Mckay

Hi all. Here’s the first part of this month’s roundup.



Nano Dreams and Nanoworlds: Fantastic Voyage as a Fantastic Origin Story
Emily York

Fantastic Voyage, a 1966 Hollywood science fiction film based on a screenplay written by Harry Kleiner, is often associated with contemporary nanotechnology imaginings. In this article, I draw on ethnographic research conducted within a new nanoengineering department and undergraduate major to show how this film is deployed to produce a particular disciplinary and professional identity for nanoengineering. By juxtaposing my analysis of how the film is framed in the department with a close reading of the film itself, I show how both inclusions and exclusions constitute the “nano dream,” a boundary-drawing practice that constructs the nanoengineer as an intrinsically ethical identity. I further assess how the constitutive exclusions of a cultural object taken up within an epistemic community can potentially serve as the starting points for intervention—in this case, a critical pedagogy that posits a “critical nanoengineering” practice.

Number-Lines: Diagramming Irrationality in “The Phoenix and Turtle”
Adhaar Noor Desai

This article considers how changes in the concept of number allow both poets and mathematicians in the early modern period to imagine and articulate concepts that resist referential signification. Specifically, it examines how both Shakespeare’s “The Phoenix and Turtle” and Robert Recorde’s The Whetstone of Witte employ hybridized lines possessing characteristics of both discrete and continuous types of quantity in order to render irrationality. Tracing the development of a formalized poetic “number line,” which understands verses as negotiating between aural, accentual-syllabic numbers and visual inscriptions, this article claims that “The Phoenix and Turtle” functions diagrammatically.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.