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Frankenskeeters and the 'Good' Aedes: Politics and Science in the Body of the Transgenic Mosquito

Hosted by STS/CSIS. Presented by Anne O'Connor, PhD student in cultural studies at UC Davis.

Feb 21, 2017
from 12:00 PM to 02:00 PM

SS&H 1246

Fears of the Zika virus in the Summer of 2016 largely centered around the mosquito as “the most dangerous creature on earth.” This article is based on work with a transgenic version of aedes aegypti, the virus’ best-known vector in Piracicaba, Brazil, and Key West, Florida during that period.  Known as “aedes do bem” and “frankenskeeters” respectively, this insect, designed with a “delayed lethality” gene for population control, had come to be radically different creatures in each community. This paper illustrates new forms of care and interrelation in the context of killing in Piracicaba, and narrates the increasingly vitriolic local politics which has split the town of Key West over the proposed FDA test of the technology on American soil to demonstrate how formative contestation on the nature and body of the insect during this period of political and viral anxiety also generated new modes of argumentation about regulation, interspecies ethics and the good citizen.

As usual, we will pre-circulate a text which will be briefly introduced, followed by an extensive discussion of the work. Food and refreshments will be provided!

Please RSVP with Adrian using the Google form below and to receive a copy of the text!