Let there be light!

Faculty are again encouraged to offer a Fiat Lux seminar.  These seminars are designed to bring Freshman into the intellectual life of the University, as faculty discuss their research (or other topics of interest) with students once a week for an hour.  There is minimal work outside the class for faculty or students, and students take the course pass/fail.

Seminars are especially encouraged that riff off one of the themes of this year’s UCLA common book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.  The book tells the story of a poor southern Black woman whose cells were taken without her knowledge and used to develop the polio vaccine and used extensively in cancer research.  The book is animated by issues of social justice and by deep questions of who owns and who controls the rights to human tissue.  One of Henrietta Lacks’s daughters is quoted as asking, “If our mother cells done so much for medicine, how come her family can’t afford to see no doctors?”

Not having read the book I can’t comment on how carefully this question  is explored there.  Clearly this question is one to which many faculty in our Department have much to contribute.

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