unSeminar: "CRISPR & Feminism: Disentangling 3,205 tweets and 18 hours of talks on gene modification”

Presented by Meaghan O’Keefe with colleagues Lisa Ikemoto, Rana Jaleel & Sarah Perrault.

Key words: #GeneEditSummit, text mining, database design, record matching, exploratory data analysis, visualization

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In 2015, hundreds of scholars, government representatives, and journalists gathered in Washington, DC for the International Summit on Human Gene Editing. The Summit was billed as an interdisciplinary discussion of ethical, legal and social aspects of genome modification, but official discussion consisted of highly planned presentations on field-specific concerns. An unofficial, parallel conference formed in the Twitterverse. Actual and virtual conference attendees appropriated the #GeneEditSummit hashtag to raise issues such as gender, reproductive justice, race, sexuality, disability, global health disparities, and sexism in STEM fields.

This research project uses feminist scholarship to examine the ethics of gene modification technologies as framed in the Summit talk transcriptions (18 hours, ~101,000 words) and corresponding 3,205 #GeneEditSummit tweets. The immediate goals are to develop a pipeline for unifying these data types and build a shareable database for ongoing and future scholarship. To accomplish this, we seek feedback on: 1) correlating transcripts and tweets, 2) ensuring accessible data formats, 3) developing an online platform for scholars engaged in similar research, and 4) visualization options for exploratory data analysis.

Example topics from the talks and tweets alt text