History, pastness and the postgenomic imaginary

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This article considers the ways that poets, rappers and artists including Kendrick Lamar, Residente, Zaffar Kunial, Michael Symons Roberts, Hannah Sullivan and Marc Quinn have responded to the biomedical postgenomic gaze, and the ways in which they have dissented or built upon this seemingly new way of conceiving of the human. These poets and rappers consider what it means to imagine in a postgenomic way, and the possible implications of this for writing, art, and living. The multiple texts I explore articulate how postgenomic identities have been expanded and understood and imagined. They participate, therefore, in the consideration articulated by Jenny Reardon of the ‘postgenomic condition’, but, as I argue, they extend and debate this. These texts interrogate what the postgenomic condition enables aesthetically, and, more importantly, what type of critique might be developed. Rather than be constrained by being postgenomic, they see opportunity for expansion, development, innovation, and critique. In these articulations, then, we can discern a roadmap for being postgenomic, as poetry seems to offer a thoughtful means for navigating the complexity of this new state.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMedical Humanities
Early online date22 Oct 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 22 Oct 2020


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