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Murphy Halliburton on the misperceptions of popular genetics

Though genes influence the body’s capability to a certain extent, Murphy Halliburton is interested in how popular beliefs in genetic determinism are often not supported by scientific work. Such unsubstantiated beliefs in genetic determinism may act as a self-fulfilling prophecy in matters of both health and intelligence and perhaps influences the health care and education industries more than it should. This “genetic fatalism” may limit our understanding of how social and environmental factors play roles in disease and mental capability. Murphy is also interested in how this particular strain of popular genetics is found specifically in American culture and ties into race and racism.

Murphy Halliburton is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and The CUNY Graduate Center.

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