Gender, race and bioethics take center stage

February 22, 2012 5:41 AM

Aidan Smith

In celebration of Black History Month, Karla Holloway of Duke University will give a lecture, “When Race Matters: Private Bodies, Public Texts,” exploring the complex interlocking systems of race, gender, law and medicine, with an emphasis on the aftermath and legacy of Hurricane Katrina. 


At the inaugural Anna Julia Cooper Lecture, Karla Holloway of Duke University will focus on the aftermath and legacy of Hurricane Katrina.

Holloway, the James B. Duke Professor of English and professor of law at Duke, will give the free lecture on Thursday (Feb. 23) at 7 p.m. in the Kendall Cram Lecture Hall in the Lavin-Bernick Center on the Tulane uptown campus.

“Karla Holloway is the inaugural speaker in what we hope will become the preeminent lecture series by and about women of color in the United States,” says Melissa Harris-Perry, Tulane political science professor and founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race and Politics in the South.

Holloway’s research on New Orleans is a fitting tribute to the project’s namesake, she says.

“The series is named for Anna Julia Cooper, whose trailblazing work at the turn of the 20th century laid the foundation for so many contemporary women in the academy,” Harris-Perry says. “Holloway is a scholar whose interdisciplinary and intersectional research is firmly rooted in Cooper’s tradition.”

The talk builds on previous campus discussions surrounding bioethics, race and gender that were sparked by the 2011 Reading Project  selection, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The book details how Lack’s cells became one of the most important tools in medicine, leading to the development of the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization and more.  

In addition to Holloway’s talk, the university community is supporting the Inaugural Black Women’s Health Conference this weekend (Feb. 24–25), which aims to raise health awareness and increase knowledge of health-related issues that disproportionately impact black women and girls.

Aidan Smith is external affairs officer for the Newcomb College Institute.



Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000