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Genetics & cosmopolitanism

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Genetics & cosmopolitanism

  1. 1. MALA 6010-002 Foundations of the Liberal Arts II: Human Migration Spring 2017 Tuesday 6:00-9:00 COE 104 Block 6: April 11 and April 18 "The Human Journey to Cosmopolitanism" Phil Oliver (Philosophy)
  2. 2. Phil Oliver phil.oliver@mtsu.edu James Union Building (JUB) 300
  3. 3. Block Description: Reflections on human migration, its contributions to the interweaving of culture, thought, and the creation of world citizenship. The practical and ethical upshot of global migration and immigration is that we live in an increasingly cosmopolitan world. Old patterns of nationalism, chauvinism, and mutual mistrust are challenged by this most promising form of globalism.
  4. 4. Readings: The following readings are required and are available in D2L, or via this link.. Spencer Wells, The Journey of Man: A Genetic Odyssey: ch1 ("The Diverse Ape"), ch8 ("The Importance of Culture") - Apr 11 Kwame Anthony Appiah, Cosmopolitanism: Ethics in a World of Strangers: Introduction ("Making Conversation"), ch1 ("The Shattered Mirror") ch 8 ("Whose Culture Is It, Anyway?") - Apr 18
  5. 5. “We are all related”-Lakota Sioux blessing
  6. 6. “We have walked far”... but haven’t reached true cosmopolitanism yet. Alexandria was the greatest city the western world had ever seen. People of all nations came there to live, to trade, to learn… It is probably here that the word cosmopolitan [first invented by Diogenes] realized its true meaning -- citizen, not just of a nation, but of the Cosmos. To be a citizen of the cosmos... We’ve tracked ancient footprints. When we walk a mile in their ash we extend their range and deepen our connection to cosmic time, “ancient and vast.” We speak for the earth of things. We humans have set foot on another world in a place called the Sea of Tranquility, an astonishing achievement for creatures such as we, whose earliest footsteps three and one- half million years old are preserved in the volcanic ash of east Africa. We have walked far. Cosmic connection, U@d 9.27.10
  7. 7. “I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world." [As quoted in Plutarch's Of Banishment]” ― Socrates
  8. 8. Genome: the Autobiograph y of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley “The genome is a book that wrote itself, continually adding, deleting and amending over four billion years.” “The genome that we decipher in this generation is but a snapshot of an ever-changing document. There is no definitive edition.” “Imagine that the genome is a book. There are twenty-three chapters, called CHROMOSOMES. Each chapter contains several thousand stories, called GENES. Each story is made up of paragraphs, called EXTONS, which are interrupted by advertisements called INTRONS. Each paragraph is made up of words, called CODONS. Each word is written in letters called BASES.”
  9. 9. “As we encounter each other, we see our diversity — of background, race, ethnicity, belief – and how we handle that diversity will have much to say about whether we will in the end be able to rise successfully to the great challenges we face today.” ― Dan Smith, The State of the World Atlas
  10. 10. “Walter Mignolo terms and articulates _critical cosmopolitanism, juxtaposing it with globalization, which is a process of "the homogeneity of the planet from above––economically, politically and culturally." Although _globalization from below_ is to counter _globalization from above_ from the experience and perspective of those who suffer from the consequences of _globalization from above_, cosmopolitanism differs, according to Mignolo, form these two types of globalization. Mignolo defines globalization as 'a set of designs to manage the world,' and cosmopolitanism as 'a set of projects toward planetary conviviality” ― Namsoon Kang, Cosmopolitan Theology: Reconstituting Planetary Hospitality, Neighbor-Love, and Solidarity in an Uneven World
  11. 11. “Cosmopolitan discourse emphasizes the _cosmic belonging_ of all individual human beings as the ground of our hospitality, solidarity, justice and neighbor-love. Cosmopolitan discourse is about turning a _compassionate gaze_ onto others regardless of one's nationality and citizenship, origin of birth, religion, gender; race and ethnicity, sexuality, or ability”
  12. 12. “I believe _cosmopolitanism_ can be an effective discourse with which to advocate a politics of _transidentity_ of overlapping interests and heterogeneous or hybrid subjects in order to challenge conventional notions of exclusive belonging, identity and citizenship.”
  13. 13. “If the well-being of my loved place depends on the well-being of Earth, I have a good reason for supporting the well-being of your loved place. I have selfish as well as cosmopolitan reasons for preserving the home-places of all human beings. Cosmopolitanism becomes thicker and more potent with this realization.” ― Nel Noddings, Peace Education: How We Come to Love and Hate War
  14. 14. 23andMe Discover the origins of your maternal (your mother's mother's mother's…) and paternal (your father's father's father's…) ancestors and how they moved around the world over thousands of years. We report on your maternal and paternal lineage by identifying your haplogroups. A haplogroup can trace part of your ancestry back to a specific group of individuals in the distant past.
  15. 15. The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee “If we define "beauty" as having blue eyes (and only blue eyes), then we will, indeed, find a "gene for beauty." If we define "intelligence" as the performance on only one kind of test, then we will, indeed, find a "gene for intelligence." The genome is only a mirror for the breadth or narrowness of human imagination.” “Our ability to read out this sequence of our own genome has the makings of a philosophical paradox. Can an intelligent being comprehend the instructions to make itself? “It is one thing to try to understand how genes influence human identity or sexuality or temperament. It is quite another thing to imagine altering identity or sexuality or behavior by altering genes.”
  16. 16. “History repeats itself, in part because the genome repeats itself. And the genome repeats itself, in part because history does. The impulses, ambitions, fantasies, and desires that drive human history are, at least in part, encoded in the human genome. And human history has, in turn, selected genomes that carry these impulses, ambitions, fantasies, and desires. This self-fulfilling circle of logic is responsible for some of the most magnificent and evocative qualities in our species, but also some of the most reprehensible. It is far too much to ask ourselves to escape the orbit of this logic, but recognizing its inherent circularity, and being skeptical of its overreach, might protect the week from the will of the strong, and the 'mutant' from being annihilated by the 'normal'.”
  17. 17. Spencer Wells is a geneticist, anthropologist, author, entrepreneur, adjunct professor at the University of Texas at Austin, and an Explorer-in- Residence at the National Geographic Society. More about Spencer Wells...
  18. 18. There is a sequel, for Spencer Wells. Our ancestors eventually stopped hunting, gathering, and roaming, settling down and literally planting roots. That led to a population explosion, relative immobility, and ultimately all the health and happiness consequences that accrue to a sedentary society. Solvitur ambulando! Re: "Pandora's Seed: The Unforeseen Cost of Civilization" by Spencer Wells "True, western societies are much better off materially than they were 40 years ago, but why is there so much crime, vandalism and graffiti? Why are divorce rates so high? Why are we seeing declines in civic engagement and trust? Why have obesity and depression reached epidemic proportions, even amongst children? Why do people call this the age of anxiety? Why do studies in most developed countries show that people are becoming unhappier? —RICHARD TOMKINS, Financial Times, October 17, 2003"
  19. 19. In The Journey of Man, renowned geneticist and anthropologist Spencer Wells traced human evolution back to our earliest ancestors, creating a remarkable and readable map of our distant past. Now, in Pandora’s Seed, he examines our cultural inheritance in order to find the turning point that led us to the path we are on today, one he believes we must veer from in order to survive.
  20. 20. Pandora’s Seed takes us on a powerful and provocative globe-trotting tour of human history, back to a seminal event roughly ten thousand years ago, when our species made a radical shift in its way of life: We became farmers rather than hunter- gatherers, setting in motion a momentous chain of events that could not have been foreseen at the time.
  21. 21. Although this decision to control our own food supply is what propelled us into the modern world, Wells demonstrates—using the latest genetic and anthropological data—that such a dramatic shift in lifestyle had a downside that we’re only now beginning to recognize. Growing grain crops ultimately made humans more sedentary and unhealthy and made the planet more crowded. The expanding population and the need to apportion limited resources such as water created hierarchies and inequalities. The desire to control—and no longer cooperate with— nature altered the concept of religion, making deities fewer and more influential, foreshadowing today’s fanaticisms.
  22. 22. The proximity of humans and animals bred diseases that metastasized over time. Freedom of movement and choice were replaced by a pressure to work that is the forebear of the anxiety and depression millions feel today. Wells offers a hopeful prescription for altering a life to which we were always ill suited, recommending that we change our priorities and self-destructive appetites before it’s too late. g’r
  23. 23. “We are one species.” Carl Sagan, Cosmos “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.” Alexandria was the greatest city the western world had ever seen. People of all nations came there to live, to trade, to learn… It is probably here that the word cosmopolitan [first invented by Diogenes] realized its true meaning -- citizen, not just of a nation, but of the Cosmos. To be a citizen of the cosmos...
  24. 24. Pale Blue Dot

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