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<nettime> RE: The DNA of Culture
Ryan Griffis on Mon, 26 Jan 2004 04:13:12 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> RE: The DNA of Culture

Dr. Thacker's account of the NOVA show recalls a
couple of things for me. 1. i saw an IMAX film a
couple of years ago on cave climbing set in South
America. The film followed a narrative of a research
doctor looking for potential botanical medicines in
the rainforest (what else), and was like a giant,
literally, commercial for glaxo, smith-kline (who,
naturally funded the entire production - IMAX's are
apparently way too expensive to make to be anything
but commercials). but anyway, the "point" of the movie
(achieved through complete visual awe and calming
narration) was that the answer was for Western pharma
to "crack" the code of non-Western culture and
seperate the myth from the medicine. So, you end up
with questions like "how does this leaf prevent cancer
in indigenous populations?" and, no one says "well
gee, their entire lifestyle is completely different.
maybe that has something to do with it. they don't
have pharmaceutical companies making drugs to solve
the problems of the PCBs they dumped in the watershed
in the 70s."
2. the genetic anthropologist looking for evidence of
the master narrative that's already been a staple of
anthropological education for at least 25 years, and
wants to formulate race as a cultural construct while
using DNA samples from, well, different races to prove
it. Jackie Stevens has a great article on this called
"Symbolic Matter: DNA and other linguistic stuff"


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