Programs of Life: Post-Genomic Science and the Affective Politics of Sexuality

When and Where

Thursday, May 09, 2024 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm
Room 17020
Department of Sociology, 17th Floor, Ontario Power Building
700 University Ave., Toronto, ON M5G 1Z5


Dr. Patrick R. Grzanka


On May 9th the Sociology Department will host a talk by Dr. Patrick R. Grzanka, a Professor of Psychology and the inaugural Divisional Dean for Social Sciences at the University of Tennessee’s flagship campus in Knoxville. He is also President of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. His interdisciplinary research draws on sociology, psychology, and science and technology studies, as well as more insurgent interdisciplines (e.g., feminist, queer, and critical race studies), to explore how institutions that purport to help—education, medicine, science, and the law—(re)produce harm. Terminally undisciplined, he holds a Ph.D. in American studies and B.A. in journalism, both from the University of Maryland. 

Join us for his talk "Programs of Life: Post-Genomic Science and the Affective Politics of Sexuality," part of a larger interdisciplinary project on the implications of "born this way" discourse for public understandings of sexual politics. The talk will trace the social life of a landmark 2019 'genome-wide association study,' which concludes that multiple parts ("loci") of the genome are associated with same-sex sexual behavior. Through extensive interviews with the study’s authors, detractors, and other interlocutors, Grzanka suggests the study reveals an affective investment in biological explanations of sexual orientation that are neither wholly epistemic or political. Instead, to grasp the motivations and consequences of this “new” science of sexuality, Grzanka argues we must also look to emotion.


700 University Ave., Toronto, ON M5G 1Z5