What Comes After CRISPR?

From “CRISPR babies” to “de-extinction” claims, gene-editing technologies inspire extreme pronouncements — regarding new kinds of choices and “playing God.” But behind the headlines and massive valuations of CRISPR companies are a vast international network of scientists, subjects, entrepreneurs, hackers, lawmakers, and professional pushers who create and shape what we now call CRISPR. Inspired from the review by philosopher of science John Dupré, Caveat Editor: Competing Takes on CRISPR, our panelists — Dupré, molecular geneticist Kevin Davies, law professor Hank Greely, anthropologist Eben Kirksey, and futurist Amy Webb — will analyze this complex system and discuss their CRISPR-themed writings, the notorious He Jiankui affair, and what comes after CRISPR.


Organized by LARB Science Editors Julien Crockett & Michele Pridmore-Brown.


This is a free satellite event of LARB’s Semipublic Intellectual Sessions. 


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Kevin Davies — British science writer Kevin Davies, Ph.D., is the author of EDITING HUMANITY: The CRISPR Revolution and the New Era of Genome Editing (Pegasus Books, 2020). Kevin’s latest book is the riveting story of the development of the Nobel Prize-winning technology for editing genes, driving breakthroughs in science, medicine, and agriculture, while igniting ethical controversies about designer babies and the future of humanity. Kevin won a Guggenheim Fellowship for science writing in 2017. Kevin has 30 years’ experience in science publishing and public speaking. He is the founding editor of Nature Genetics and currently the Executive Editor of The CRISPR Journal. His previous books include Breakthrough: The Race for the Breast Cancer Gene; Cracking the Genome (translated into 15 languages), an inside account of the race for the Human Genome Project hailed by one reviewer as “A rollicking good tale about an enduring intellectual monument”; and The $1000 Genome, which details the revolution in personalized medicine and consumer genetics. He also collaborated with Nobel laureate Jim Watson and Andrew Berry on DNA: The Story of the Genetic Revolution.


John Dupré is Professor of the Philosophy of Science, University of Exeter and Director of Egenis, The Centre for the Study of Life Sciences, which he founded in 2002.  He received a PhD from Cambridge in 1981, and has subsequently worked at Oxford, Stanford, and Birkbeck College, London before moving to Exeter. His books include The Disorder of Things (1993), Human Nature and the Limits of Science (2001), Darwin’s Legacy (2003), and Processes of Life (2012). His recent work has advocated a radically processual understanding of living systems, which is explored in a book co-edited with Daniel Nicholson, Everything Flows: Towards a Processual Philosophy of Biology (2018, open access), and in The Metaphysics of Biology, due to be published this month. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an Honorary International Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the President of the Philosophy of Science Association.


Eben Kirksey is an American anthropologist and Member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He has been published in Wired, The Atlantic, The Guardian and The Sunday Times. He is sought out as an expert on science in society by the Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Democracy Now, Time and the BBC, among other media outlets. He speaks widely at the world’s leading academic institutions including Oxford, Yale, Columbia, UCLA, and the International Summit of Human Genome Editing, plus music festivals, art exhibits, and community events. Professor Kirksey holds a long-term position at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. For more information, please visit https://eben-kirksey.space/.


Henry T. (Hank) Greely is the Deane F. and Kate Edelman Johnson Professor of Law; Professor, by courtesy, of Genetics; and Director of the Center for Law and the Biosciences at Stanford University. He specializes in ethical, legal, and social issues arising from the biosciences. He is a founder and immediate past President of the International Neuroethics Society; chairs the California Advisory Committee on Human Stem Cell Research; chairs the Ethical, Legal, and Social Issues Committee of the Earth BioGenome Project; and serves on the NIH BRAIN Initiative’s Multi-Council Working Group while co-chairing the Initiative’s Neuroethics Work Group. He is the author of The End of Sex and the Future of Human Reproduction(Harv. Univ. Press 2016) and CRISPR People: The Science and Ethics of Editing Humans (MIT Press 2021). Professor Greely graduated from Stanford in 1974 and Yale Law School in 1977. He served as a law clerk for Judge John Minor Wisdom on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit and Justice Potter Stewart of the United States Supreme Court. After working during the Carter Administration in the Departments of Defense and Energy, he entered private law practice in Los Angeles in 1981. He joined the Stanford faculty in 1985.


Amy Webb is a quantitative futurist, founder of the Future Today Institute, and award-winning author of The Big Nine andThe Signals Are Talking. She writes extensively about science and technology, contributing to publications including Harvard Business Review, the New York Times, Wired, Fortune, Mother Jones, MIT Sloan Management Review, and regularly appearing on NPR, PBS, CNN and other networks. A lifelong science fiction fan, Amy collaborates closely with Hollywood writers and producers on films, TV shows and commercials about science, technology and the future. Forbes called Amy “one of the five women changing the world” and she was honored as one of the BBC’s 100 Women of 2020. She annually presents FTI’s Tech Trends Report in a keynote address at SXSW


SPI Session #5: Under Review

When the Los Angeles Review of Books was founded in 2011, the profession of book reviewing was in crisis. Traditional venues — the book pages of newspapers — were shrinking and vanishing, edging out serious conversations about new publications. Inspired by the near-infinite vistas of virtual space, LARB sought to rekindle those conversations online. But has the web been a blessing for book reviewing, or has proliferation of venues, poor compensation, and the hunger for clicks diluted and compromised the practice? Join us to discuss these pressing questions with critics Aaron Bady, Jane Hu, Christian Lorentzen, Julian Lucas, Ismail Muhammad, and LARB’s Editor-in-Chief Boris Dralyuk.
Aaron Bady is a writer and academic based in Oakland, California. He is an editor at the Stanford Social Innovation Review and an editor-at-large for The New Inquiry, and Founding Editor at Popula. He is also a regular contributor at The Week, member of The Los Angeles Review of Books “Dear Television” collective, Stranger’s Guide contributing editor, and PhD in English Literature at UC Berkeley. His work has appeared in venues including The New Yorker, The New Republic, The Nation, Pacific Standard, Boston Review, among others.
Jane Hu is a PhD candidate in English and Film & Media Studies at UC Berkeley. Her cultural criticism has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, Bookforum, The Nation, Harper’s, The Ringer, and The Awl, among other places.
Christian Lorentzen is an essayist and critic based in Brooklyn. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books, Bookforum, and Harper’s Magazine and a contributing writer for Air Mail.
Julian Lucas is a writer and critic based in Brooklyn. He is an associate editor at Cabinet and a contributing editor at The Ballot. His work has appeared in The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Harper’s, Vanity Fair and The New York Times Book Review. 
Ismail Muhammad is a story editor at the New York Times Magazine. He was previously the criticism editor for The Believer. His nonfiction and criticism have appeared in Catapult, The Paris Review, LitHub, The Atlantic, The Nation, and other venues. He lives in Oakland.
Boris Dralyuk is the Editor in Chief of the Los Angeles Review of Books. He is co-editor (with Robert Chandler and Irina Mashinski) of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry, editor of 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution and Ten Poems from Russia, and translator of Isaac Babel, Andrey Kurkov, Maxim Osipov, Mikhail Zoshchenko, and other authors. His work has appeared in the Times Literary Supplement, The New York Review of Books, London Review of Books, and elsewhere.
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This event is part of LARB’s Semipublic Intellectual Sessions, a tenth anniversary celebration and fundraiser. Donate what you can to register for this event or make a contribution of $75+ to receive a full series pass, which includes automatic registration to all five events, a copy of the Semipublic Intellectual issue of the LARB Quarterly Journal, and a limited edition Semipublic Intellectual tote.
Download a full program guide here.

SPI Session #4: Redeeming Justice

The law is the frontline in our ongoing battle to “create a more perfect union.” The decisions of our courts, and the laws enacted by our legislatures, reflect both our best aspirations and our worst misdeeds. The question of how law aligns with or, too often, works against the cause of social justice is once again at the center of legal, political, and public debates. Join us for a conversation with Jarrett Adams, lawyer, advocate, and author of Redeeming Justice, former LA Country District Attorney Gil Garcetti, and Loyola Law School Professor of Criminal Law, Laurie Levenson. Moderated by Gil Garcetti, the panel will discuss the ways that racism has systemically infected the criminal justice system, and review reform measures, both proposed and enacted.
Jarrett M. Adams, a top criminal defense and civil rights attorney, is the author of REDEEMING JUSTICE: From Defendant to Defender, My Fight for Equity on Both Sides of a Broken System (Convergent / Penguin Random House, 9/14/21) and co-founder of the nonprofit Life After Justice, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing wrongful convictions and building an ecosystem of support and empowerment for exonerees. Visit Jarrett Adams Law for more information; follow on  Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook.
Gil Garcetti – A prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office for 32 years, eight of which he was the elected District Attorney (1992-2000), Gil Garcetti oversaw 1100 prosecutors, placed a special focus on combatting domestic violence, and initiated specific programs designed to prevent crime. After leaving office, he taught a seminar at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government entitled “The Interaction of the Criminal Justice System, Race, Politics, and the Media”. He has also been a frequent speaker on his various photo projects, career change, the death penalty, and especially on empowering women and girls in West Africa by building bore hole wells in rural villages. In 2002, he published his first photo essay book, Iron: Erecting The Walt Disney Concert Hall. His subsequent nine books have all been photo essays, including Dance in Cuba, Water is Key, Paris: Women & Bicycles, and Japan: A Reverence For Beauty. All of his books are discussed on his website, www.garcetti.com.
Laurie Levenson – While in law school, Laurie Levenson was chief articles editor of the UCLA Law Review. After graduation, she served as law clerk to the Honorable James Hunter III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. In 1981, she was appointed assistant United States Attorney, Criminal Section, in Los Angeles, where she was a trial and appellate lawyer for eight years and attained the position of senior trial attorney and assistant division chief. Levenson was a member of the adjunct faculty of Southwestern University Law School from 1982–’89. She joined the Loyola faculty in 1989 and served as Loyola’s associate dean for academic affairs from 1996–’99. She has been a visiting professor at UCLA School of Law and a D&L Straus distinguished visiting professor at Pepperdine University School of Law. Professor Levenson currently leads the following programs at Loyola Law School: Capital Habeas Litigation Clinic, The Fidler Institute annual symposium, and the Project for the Innocent.
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This event is part of LARB’s Semipublic Intellectual Sessions, a 10th anniversary celebration and fundraiser. Donate what you can to register for this event or make a contribution of $75+ to receive a full series pass, which includes automatic registration to all five events, a copy of the Semipublic Intellectual issue of the LARB Quarterly Journal, and a limited edition Semipublic Intellectual tote.
Download a full program guide here.

SPI Session #3: Online Together

SPI Session #2: On Leaving

On the Chinese Cultural Revolution: Thought Exercises for the Twenty-First Century

Semipublic Intellectual Sessions

SPI Session #1 : Where's "the Discourse"?

Departmental Drama

LARB Publishing Workshop

(Screen)Writing Against Type

Celebration of Kiese Laymon's Long Division