Author: Karen Bridget Murray, Department of Politics York University
This article draws attention to the importance of including the colonial present in critical inquiries into the relationship between epigenetics and politics. Focusing on British Columbia (Canada) at the dawn of the twenty-first century, the assessment illustrates how an epigenetic style of thought rendered tangible the “vulnerable Aboriginal child” as a category amenable to settler-colonial governmental interventions. More specifically, the article demonstrates how prominent elements of this classification interconnected with a mediating device undergirded by epigenetic reason, the Early Development Instrument. Eugenic sensibilities produced through epigenetic logics wove through this relationship. In turn, linkages between the EDI and the classification of the at-risk Aboriginal child comprised a terrain that shaped settler-colonial power and privilege through mechanisms of population management and related implications for territorial control. The article evaluates what these findings suggest for extending debates about the political elements of epigenetic reason.