【專題演講】－The Meeting of Indigenous & Scientific Knowledges in Epigenetic Science
講者：Emma Kowal（Professor, Deakin University, Australia）
Many Indigenous groups the world over have a difficult relationship with Western science. Since at least the beginning of the 19th century, Western science has been used to support colonial dispossession and exploitation of lands and waters, and to frame Indigenous people as racially inferior and destined to become extinct. The string of sciences examining biological differences between groups (including, over time, comparative anatomy, physical anthropology, human biology, population genetics and evolutionary genetics) have been particularly associated with damaging and demeaning experiences. More recent projects such as the Human Genome Diversity Project in the 1990s, the Genographic project in the 2000s and the All of Us Initiative in the US in the 2010s have all been subject to critique by Indigenous groups who are concerned that their genetic data will be appropriated and used in ways that harm their interests.
In this context, the response from Indigenous people towards epigenetics has been surprising. Epigenetics focuses not on the genes themselves, but on the changing expression and regulation of genes in different parts of the body, over the life course, and in response to environmental stressors. The potential transmission of epigenetic effects over three or more generations has been of particular interest to multiple Indigenous groups who see epigenetic inheritance as a potential biological explanation for, and validation of, their lived experiences of transgenerational colonial trauma. The epigenetics of child development has also been taken up by trauma-informed approaches to Indigenous education and juvenile justice. This talk will consider the promise and pitfalls of epigenetic science for Indigenous groups, drawing on research with Indigenous and non-Indigenous scientists and advocates in Australia. The encounter between Indigenous and epigenetic knowledge offers insights for further developing the tools and concepts of postcolonial, decolonial and Indigenous STS.
Recommended reading :
Warin, M., Kowal, E. and Meloni, M (2019) Indigenous knowledge in a postgenomic landscape: The politics of epigenetic hope and reparation in Australia. Science, Technology and Human Values
Kowal, E., Radin, J. and Reardon, J. (2013) Indigenous body parts, mutating temporalities, and the half-lives of postcolonial technoscience. Social Studies of Science 43 (4):465-482.
Kowal, E. and Warin, M. (2018) Anthropology, Indigeneity and the Epigenome. American Anthropologist (World Anthropologies Section), 120(4):822-5.
Kowal, E. (2016) The Promise of Indigenous Epigenetics. Discover Society Volume 37 https://discoversociety.org/2016/10/04/the-promise-of-indigenous-epigenetics/
Kowal, E. and Watt, E. (2018) What is race in Australia? Journal of Anthropological Sciences 96:1-10 http://www.isita-org.com/jass/Contents/2018vol96/Kowal/Kowal.pdf
蔡友月. (2014). 基因科學與認同政治: 原住民 DNA, 台灣人起源與生物多元文化主義的興起. 台灣社會學, (28), 1-58.
蔡友月. (2017). 成為 [邵族人]: 基因科學與原住民正名的認同政治. 臺灣社會學刊, (62), 113-175.
Tsai, Y. Y., & Lee, W. J. (2021). An imagined future community: Taiwan Biobank, Taiwanese genome, and nation-building. BioSocieties, 16(1), 88-115.
Emma Kowal is Professor of Anthropology and Deputy Director of the Alfred Deakin Institute at Deakin University. She was founding Convenor of the Deakin Science and Society Network, founding Deputy Director of the National Centre for Indigenous Genomics (NCIG) at the Australian National University, former Convenor of the Asia-Pacific Science, Technology and Society Network and co-founder of the TransAsiaSTS Network. She is a cultural and medical anthropologist who previously worked as a medical doctor and public health researcher in Indigenous health before completing her PhD in 2007. Her research interests lie at the intersection of STS and Indigenous studies and hves recently focused on the many iterations and resonances of ‘Indigenous DNA’ in Australia. She has authored over 100 publications including the monograph Trapped in the Gap: Doing Good in Indigenous Australia and the collection (co-edited with Joanna Radin) Cryopolitics: Frozen Life in a Melting World. Her current book project is entitled Haunting Biology: Science and Indigeneity in Australia. She has received many grants and awards for her research and is a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia.