Northwestern Events Calendar


Michelle N. Huang - "Racial Disintegration: Biomedical Futurity at the Environmental Limit"

When: Monday, February 27, 2023
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM Central

Where: University Hall, Hagstrum 201, 1897 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: FREE

Contact: Janet Hundrieser   (847) 491-3525

Group: Science in Human Culture Program - Klopsteg Lecture Series

Category: Lectures & Meetings



Michelle N. Huang, Northwestern University


"Racial Disintegration: Biomedical Futurity at the Environmental Limit"


Illuminating how biomedical capital invests in white and Asian American populations while divesting from Black surplus populations, this talk proposes recent Asian American dystopian fiction provides a case study for analyzing futurities where healthcare infrastructures intensify racial inequality under terms that do not include race at all. Through readings of Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea (2014) and other texts, Huang develops the term studious deracination to refer to a narrative strategy defined by an evacuated racial consciousness that is used to ironize assumptions of white universalism and uncritical postracialism. Studious deracination challenges medical discourse’s “colorblind” approach to healthcare and enables a reconsideration of comparative racialization in a moment of accelerating social disintegration and blasted landscapes. Indeed, while precision medicine promises to replace race with genomics, Asian American literature is key to showing how this “postracial” promise depends on framing racial inequality as a symptom, rather than an underlying etiology, of infrastructures of public health.


Michelle N. Huang (she/her/hers, Ph.D. English and Women’s Studies, Pennsylvania State University), jointly appointed in the English Department and in the Asian American Studies Program, has research and teaching interests in contemporary Asian American literature, posthumanism, and feminist science studies.

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