What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club
Bioethics and Philosophy in Orphan Black
By Gregory E. Pence, PhD
What is the real-world history and science of human cloning, and how closely does Orphan Black nail it?
Can you “own” a person—even a cloned one?
How can Sarah Manning be straight, Cosima gay, and Tony trans?
Cult hit sci-fi show Orphan Black doesn’t just entertain—it also raises fascinating questions about human cloning, its ethics, and its impact on personal identity.
In What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club: Bioethics and Philosophy in Orphan Black, prominent bioethicist Gregory E. Pence violates Clone Club’s first rule to take us deeper into the show and its connections to the real world, including:
- Prominent myths about human clones (and Orphan Black’s rejection of them)
- Our ugly history of eugenics
- The ethics of human experimentation, by way of Projects Castor and Leda
- Clones and identity: What we can learn from twin studies and tensions among Orphan Black‘s clone “sisters”
- Kendall Morgan and other genetic anomalies
- The brave new world of genetic enhancement, clonal dynasties, and how Helena and Kira Manning fit in
In the process, What We Talk About When We Talk About Clone Club reveals why Orphan Black is some of today’s most engaging and thought-provoking television.