"On Creating A Deaf Child: Parental Choice, Genetic Technology and Human Flourishing"

Monday, April 2, 2018
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM (ET)
VCAM VCAM 001 Screening Room
Event Type
Distinguished Visitors Program

Distinguished Visitor Teresa Blankmeyer Burke, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Gallaudet University

Genetic engineering could be used to reduce or eradicate disability, which some regard as a source of human suffering. Yet others, including members of the signing deaf community, regard disability as a difference rather than a harm. Potential parents in this community who prefer to create deaf children express fear that human germline editing technologies, such as CRISPR, will ultimately extinguish their kind. Dr. Burke will ask whether it's morally justifiable to use such editing technologies to ensure that deaf parents can create deaf children. She begins by asking, “What is a flourishing deaf life?” 

Teresa Blankmeyer Burke 
is associate professor of philosophy at Gallaudet University, the world’s only liberal arts college for deaf and hard of hearing people. The first signing Deaf woman to receive a doctorate of philosophy, Burke’s boundary-stretching research resides at intersections of bioethics, philosophy of disability, and Deaf philosophy. Topics she has published on include moral justification regarding the use of genetic technology to bear deaf children and the ethics of signed language interpreting. She is currently working on a monograph titled "Out of Hand: Deaf Bioethics in the Genomic Age." Fluent in American Sign Language (ASL), Dr. Burke is part of the ASL Philosophical Lexicon Project, which develops technical philosophical vocabulary in American Sign Language.  (The project website: philosophy.aslcore.org) Professor Burke also performs bilingual poetry in ASL or English. 

Tea at 4:15 p.m.

Sponsored by the Bi-Co Health Studies Program in conjunction with the Distinguished Visitors Program

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