You are here: Home News Feb., Symposium …

Feb., Symposium "National Identities, Biopolitics and Human Diversity in Contemporary European Life Sciences"

The final symposium by the research group will take place on February 27th and 28th. We're looking forward to presentations by members of the SoSciBio-research group as well as international guests. Location of the symposium is room R 00 032 in the FRIAS, Albertstr. 19, Freiburg.

Since the end of the 1980s at the latest, the categorization of human diversity into racial groups has been discredited in German and largely also in European popular discourse and life science research (Lipphardt 2009, zur Nieden 2014; Plümecke 2010), not least due to the history of racial hygiene under National Socialism. The public rejection of such racial classifications often goes hand in hand with European societies’ self-perception as being non-racial or even post-racial. At the same time, knowledge production about human biological, especially genetic, diversity and classifications in the life sciences continues unabashed, sometimes explicitly, sometimes implicitly. Due to the persistent societal taboo (Chin 2017), however, this knowledge production is reflected upon to a lesser extent than elsewhere, for example in the United States, where the categorisation of people into racial groups is common practice in both society and science. In this context, this symposium raises the question of how decent-based human differentiations such as race, ethnicity, ancestry, migration background, etc. are described, managed and (re-)produced in the life sciences in contemporary Europe where the experience of fascism, inscribed in all European countries, is expected to produce nationally-specific categorizations and demarcations. It builds on existing research predominantly conducted in the United States, focusing on the interplay of society, politics and science in the construction and use of classifications of human biological differences (Steven Epstein, Jenny Reardon, and Joan Fujimura, among others). We ask how national ideas of identity and alterity, historically developed forms of human differentiation and biopolitical strategies are engrained in the contemporary life sciences, their discourses, research designs and human classifications. Contributions will mainly focus on epidemiology, medicine, pharmaceutical research.

Full Description




If you're interested in participating you can register until Feb. 14th via E-Mail to Isabel Schön: 

There is a contribution towards expenses of 25€ (resp. 10 € for students).