Majia Holmer Nadesan

Majia Holmer Nadesan


Majia Nadesan studies biopolitics, or the politics of life, encoded in liberal systems of governing. Her research has explored biopolitics in the in the interpretation and treatment of autism and other neurological disorders, in childhood risk management, and most recently in the governance of environmentally-induced genomic risk.

Autistic Ontologies and the Open Genome


Drawing upon open systems models, this presentation introduces two theories of environmentally-mediated genomic instability, both of which offer insight into the cascading failures associated with autism spectrum disorders. The open systems models promoted in this presentation challenge 19th century atomism and mechanism, which haunt 21st century formulations of disease, including autism spectrum disorder. The presentation explores the 19th century legacy and identifies the nexus of knowledge and technologies that promote atomistic mechanism over the open and integrated systems models emerging in fields such as evolutionary biology, environmental epidemiology, and environmental chemistry. The presentation concludes by addressing the biopolitics inherent in funding priorities and representations that promote atomistic mechanism under extant conditions of growing disorder in biological systems, especially pertaining to the human nervous system, while encouraging more dynamic and open models of the genome, development, learning, and risk-management in the understanding and treatment of autism spectrum disorders.