Political Science 633 – International Biotechnology Policy
Andrea Bonnicksen Zulauf 401 815-753-7059; firstname.lastname@example.org
Biotechnology is the manipulation of living organisms for human use. While basic techniques, such as the cross-breeding of animals, have long been a part of human history, in recent decades novel discoveries have elevated biotechnology to an increasingly important place in world affairs. In this seminar we will focus on the international dimensions of two broadly different types of biotechnology: (1) the development and use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) for human consumption and (2) the use of biological organisms as potential or actual instruments of warfare. The seminar will pose and examine questions about each. About GMOs, for example, what accounts for the striking differences of opinion about the desirability of genetically modified food crops? What regulatory structures are in place for resolving issues that arise with the growing use of GMOs, such as food labeling? Regarding biological warfare, for example, how significant a risk do bioweapons pose to international security? What agreements relate to biological weapons and why are they difficult to enforce? What strategies and underlying premises ought to govern control of biological weapons in the future? A background in science is not necessary for this seminar.
Guillemin, Jeanne. Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-Sponsored
Weirich, Paul, ed. Labeling Genetically Modified Food: The Philosophical and Legal
Material on electronic reserve is noted as ER below.
Adjustments may be made, if necessary, to the schedule of topics and dates if it appears that some topics will require more time and others will require less.
JANUARY 15, 22 BIOTECHNOLOGY AND INTERNATIOAL RELATIONS
Manning, Francis C.R. “Biotechnology: A Scientific Perspective.” In Alan Russell and
Vogler, eds., The International Politics of Biotechnology.
Dyer, Hugh. “Biotechnology and International Relations: The Normative Dimensions.”
In Alan Russell and John Vogler, eds., The International Politics of
Russell, Alan, and John Vogler. “Conclusion: The Implications for International
Relations.” In Alan Russell and John Vogler, eds., The International Politics of
Wiegele, Thomas C. Biotechnology and International Relations: The Political
JANUARY 22 GENETICALLY MODIFIED ORGANISMS (GMOs)
Thomson, Jennifer A. Genes for
World Health Organization. “20 Questions on Genetically Modified Food.” Available at
Thompson, Paul B. Food
Biotechnology in Ethical Perspective.
Academic & Professional, 1997, pp. 18-38. ER
Kellow, Aynsley. “Risk Assessment and Decision-Making for Genetically Modified
Foods.” IPA Biotechnology Backgrounder 1:1-11 (1999). ER
Rees, Andy. Genetically
Modified Food: A Short Guide for the Confused.
Press, 2006, pp. 1-20. ER
Browse Friends of the Earth International www.foei.org/en/campaigns/gmo/publications
JANUARY 29 POLICY CASE STUDY: LABELING GMO FOOD (I)
Pariza, Michael W. “A Scientific Perspective on Labeling Genetically Modified Food.”
In Weirich, ed., pp. 3-9
Roberts, Michael R. “Genetically Modified Organisms for Agricultural Food
Production.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 10-16.
Degnan, Fred H. “Biotechnology and the Food Label.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 17-31.
European regulatory approaches
Grossman, Margaret Rosso. “European Community Legislation for Traceability and
Labeling of Genetically Modified Crops, Food, and Feed.” In Weirich, ed., pp.
Food labeling and genetically modified animals
“Genetically Engineered Animals.” One-page diagram. Available at
Streiffer, Robert, and Alan Rubel. “Genetically Engineered Animals and the Ethics of
Food Labeling.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 63-87.
“FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Regulating Genetically Modified Animals.” 18
September 2008. Available at
Anthony, Raymond, and Paul B. Thompson. “Biosafety, Ethics, and Regulation of
Transgenic Animals.” In Sarad R. Parekh, ed. The GMO Handbook: Genetically
Microbes, and Plants in Biotechnology.
Press, 2004, pp. 183-206. ER
FEBRUARY 5, 12 POLICY CASE STUDY: LABELING GMO FOOD (II)
Markie, Peter. “Mandatory Genetic Engineering Labels and Consumer Autonomy.” In
Weirich, ed., pp. 88-105.
Kalaitzandonakes, Nicholas, et al. “Consumer Response to Mandated Labeling of
Genetically Modified Foods.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 106-27.
McGarity, Thomas O. “Frankenfood Free.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 128-150.
Peters, Philip G., and Thomas A. Lambert. “Regulatory Barriers to Consumer
Information about Genetically Modified Foods.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 151-77.
Wolf, Clark. “Labeling Genetically Engineered Foods.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 178-200.
Cranor, Carl. “Different Conceptions of Food Labels and Acceptable Risks.” In Weirich,
ed., pp. 201-21.
Weirich, Paul. “Using Food Labels to Regulate Risks.” In Weirich, ed., pp. 222-45.
Browse http://usbiotechreg.nbii.gov/lawsregsguidance.asp for laws and regulations.
FEBRUARY 19 GMOs AND QUESTIONS OF BENEFIT
Safety and control
Browse European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. 2008. “Life
Sciences and Biotechnology: A Strategy.” Available at
Richer and poorer nations
Thomson, Jennifer A. Genes
Qui, Jane. “Is
Friends of the Earth International. “Who Benefits from GM Crops?” Available at
www.foei.org/en/campaigns/gmo. Read pp. 5-6 and 38-41.
FEBRUARY 26 BIOTECHNOLOGY AND HUMAN HEALTH
International policies relating to human genetic alterations
Engineering.” In Albert R. Jonsen et al.,
Source Book in Bioethics.
the use of human embryos and foetuses for diagnostic, therapeutic, scientific,
industrial, and commercial purposes.” Available at
Policies relating to human reproductive cloning
Browse UNESCO. “Human Cloning: Ethical Issues.” See links on p. 20. Available at http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0013/001359/135928e.pdf
FEBRUARY 26 MIDTERM TAKE-HOME EXAMS DISTRIBUTED
MARCH 5 MIDTERM TAKE-HOME EXAMS DUE
MARCH 5, 19 BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: HISTORY
Guillemin, Jeanne. Biological Weapons: From the Invention of State-‘Sponsored
2005. Entire book.
Lockwood, Jeffrey A. Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War. New
MARCH 26, APRIL 2 BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: TYPES
Ryan, Jeffrey R., and Jan F. Glarum.
2008, pp. 23-38. ER
Next generation bioweapons
Ainscough, Michael J. “Next Generation Bioweapons: Genetic Engineering and
Biological Warfare.” In Jim A. Davis and Barry R. Schneider, eds., Gathering
Biological Warfare Storm.
Ryan, Jeffrey R., and Jan F. Glarum.
2008, pp. 299-314. ER
APRIL 9 BIOLOGICAL WEAPONS: REGULATION
Kellman, Barry. Bioviolence:
Preventing Biological Terror and Crime.
APRIL 16 BIOWEAPONS, PUBLIC HEALTH, AND HUMAN RIGHTS
Public health management
Inglesby, Thomas V., et al. “Plague as a Biological Weapon: Medical and Public Health
Management.” JAMA 283(17): 2281-90 (
Inglesby, Thomas V. et al. “Anthrax as a Biological Weapon: Medical and Public Health
Management.” JAMA 281(18): 1735-45 (May 12, 1999). ER
Human rights and bioterrorism
Hodge, James G., Jr. and Lawrence O. Gostin, “Protecting the Public’s Health in an Era
of Bioterrorism: The
Annas, George J. “Terrorism and Human Rights.” In Jonathan D. Moreno, ed., In the
Wake of Terror: Medicine and
Morality in a Time of Crisis.
Press, 2003, pp. 33-49. ER
Childress, James F. “Triage in Response to a Bioterrorist Act.” In Jonathan D. Moreno,
ed., In the Wake of Terror: Medicine and Morality
in a Time of Crisis.
MA: MIT Press, 2003, pp. 77-93. ER
APRIL 23 PAPERS DUE
APRIL 23, 30 PAPER PRESENTATIONS
APRIL 30 FINAL EXAMS DISTRIBUTED
MAY 7 FINAL EXAMS DUE
Grades will be based upon 2 take-home exams, a research paper, and participation, for a total of 220 points. Grades will be determined on a percentage scale as follows: 180 – 200 = A; 160 – 179 = B; 140 – 159 = C; 120 – 139 = D
ITEM DATE DUE POINTS
Research proposal February 12 10 points
Participation - 20 points
The research paper will give you the opportunity to explore in detail a subject that is of particular interest to you. The paper should be 15-18 double-spaced, typed pages with one-inch margins and regular spacing between paragraphs. It will be due in written form on April 23. Class presentations will be April 23 and 30. More information about the papers will be presented in class.
Paper proposals are worth l0 points. The proposal is important because it is a road map for your research. I recommend working on it carefully; a well-formulated proposal will make the research and writing easier. Proposals often have the following problems: too general, too broad, no clear research question, conclusions already reached, sources not found or read, sources inadequately cited, signs of having been written with great haste. To avoid these problems, please write a proposal of ~ 2 pages that includes the following:
The paper should relate to a specific issue in biotechnology, preferably one that has an international relations or comparative politics dimension. One way to arrive at a topic is to identify a manageable policy problem. Then ask questions about it until you narrow them down to a paper topic. You may get general ideas from the Wiegele reading on ER from the January 15 session, where general questions relating to biotechnology and international relations are listed on pp. 176-80.
The midterm and final exams will be distributed one week before their due dates. It is expected that you will integrate (with APA-style citation) at least 3 different class readings into each essay. To prepare, you are encouraged to take notes on the readings.
Participation will be based on attendance (with special attention to the days the papers are presented) and a demonstration that you have read the readings and have synthesized and analyzed them. When you have been asked to present an article or chapter in class, please do the following:
1. Briefly summarize the article or chapter. What is the author’s purpose in writing it? What is the author’s main theme? What is the research question? Keep in mind that everyone will have read the article so we don’t need all the details. Prepare separate notes and do not read directly from the article.
2. Next, engage us with the article or chapter. What is unique or important about the article? Does it provoke curiosity? Is it well argued? How does this article further our knowledge about the topic?
“The attempt of any student to present as his or her own
work that which he or she has not produced is regarded by the faculty and
administration as a serious offense. Students are considered to have cheated if
they copy the work or another during an examination or turn in a paper or an
assignment written, in whole or in part, by someone else. Students are guilty
of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, magazine,
or other sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without
acknowledging them. Students guilty of, or assisting
others in, either cheating or plagiarism on an assignment, quiz, or examination
may receive a grade of F for the course involved and may be suspended or
dismissed from the university.” Northern