Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; Journal Review Editor: Brenda L. Seago, MLS, MA, Medical College of Virginia Campus, Virginia Commonwealth University.
The Global Genome is an ambitious attempt to provide audiences in the humanities the keys to understanding “the technosphere of the life sciences.” The challenge is a daunting one; hence, to say that The Global Genome fails in multiple ways to provide a satisfactory analysis is less to criticize the earnest attempt at synthesis the book represents than to indicate the difficulty of the problem posed.
Readers of JAMA will be familiar with the proliferation of specialties in medicine and the biosciences. They may well be less familiar with the diverse subdisciplines that populate the American university world of the humanities. How to communicate across disciplinary, subdisciplinary, and basic literacy lines is a problem faced by everyone coping with issues of science and society today. It is a devilish problem to which no simple answer or single model has been found. The problem that C. P. Snow named “The Two Cultures” 50 years ago is still relevant, although today the number is larger than two, and no one really knows what culture means anymore. In this light it is relevant that Eugene Thacker is a professor in the School of Literature, Communication, and Culture at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Rabinow P. Genetics. JAMA. 2005;294(17):2237. doi:10.1001/jama.294.17.2237