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Metabolic, Filmic, and Genetic Accounts of Time in Embryonic Life

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Hannah Landecker (UCLA)

This talk draws together narratives of embryogenesis from somewhat disparate ways of recording and explaining change over time in metabolic, cell imaging, and genetic/epigenetic terms. Has each technology of registering development elided the other, producing a set of comparable yet sometimes incommensurable accounts of embryonic life? Do these modes of recording and representation, each with their own specific media, actually produce different temporalities for the same object? This of course is a scientific issue in terms of understanding embryogenesis, but it is also a historical and philosophical one. Historical work often pursues the same avenues which seem self-evidently to be different topics: developmental genetics, biochemistry of metabolism, microscopy and imaging. By foregrounding accounts of temporality, instead of choosing disciplinary or biographical protagonists, perhaps different histories will come into view.

This talk is part of the ReproSoc series.

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