Workshop: Sex, Race, and Reproduction. Configurations of Biological Knowledge Around 1800, 12.-14.06.2009, Vienna

Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Wien/Dr. Susanne Lettow Wien
Zeit: 12.-14.06.2009
Ort: Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Spittelauer Lände 3, A-1090 Wien
Around 1800, the life sciences and the human sciences, including philosophy in its modern form, were “in the making.” Mechanistic explanations of natural life were increasingly criticized, and new epistemic strategies towards “life” were formulated. In these processes, knowledge concerning “human nature” was configured in different ways and articulated from various political-ethical perspectives. Scientific, philosophical, political-ethical, and economic meanings overlapped in concepts of race, descent, inheritance and reproduction as well as those of generation, procreation, sex and sexuality. However, these concepts were not stable but highly contested in regard to their epistemological as well as socio-cultural status. In the order of knowledge the status of biology as a science and social knowledge were far from being fixed. But, the political-epistemological problems of naturalism and biological naturalization that to this day still haunt the social and human sciences, including philosophy, emerged at the horizon. This interdisciplinary workshop aims at analyzing different constellations of biological knowledge, i.e., the formation, circulation and articulation of biological concepts in scientific, philosophical and socio-political contexts. Questions to be discussed are: what kind of epistemic strategies were formed in regard to the emerging life sciences, how were they linked to politics of knowledge, and, especially, how did political-epistemological strategies referring to race and sex intersect.
Friday, 12 June
16.00 – 16:30 Cornelia Klinger, Susanne Lettow:
Welcome and Introduction
16.30 – 17.30 Robert Bernasconi (Pennsylvania State University):
Race and Heredity in Kantian Natural History in the 1790s
17.30 – 17.45 Coffee Break
17.45 – 18.45 Staffan Müller-Wille (University of Exeter/Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science, Berlin):
Heredity, Race and Disease. Early Modern Connections
Saturday, 13 June
9.30 – 10.30 Florence Vienne (Technische Universität Braunschweig):
Vom „Bildungstrieb“ zum Spermium als Träger männlicher Zeugungskraft: Zeugungskonzepte vor und nach 1800
10.30 – 11.30 Tobias Cheung (Humboldt University Berlin/Max-Planck-Institute for the History of Science, Berlin):
Fibre Œconomies, Reproduction, and Sensibility: Bonnet’s Agent-Model of Organic Order
11.30 – 12.00 Coffee Break
12.00 – 13.00 Sara Figal (Vanderbilt University, Nashville)
Circassian Beauty and the European Race
Lunch Break
14.30 – 15.30 Penelope Deutscher (Northwestern University, Evanston):
Animal Seraglio: Animality, Slavery, Analogy and Biology in Wollstonecraft’s Defense of Women’s Rights
15.30 – 15.45 Coffee Break
15.45 – 16.45 Waltraud Ernst (University of Hildesheim):
Pleasure & Nature. Functions of the Erotic in Enlightenment Science
Sunday, 14 June
9.30 – 10.30 Tristana Dini (Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane, Napoli):
Politische Gleichheit und natürliche Differenzen. Eine
bio-politische Lektüre der klassischen deutschen Philosophie
10.30 – 11.30 Petra Gehring (Technische Universität Darmstadt)
11.30 – 11.45 Coffee Break
11.45 – 12.15 Final Discussion
Dr. Susanne Lettow
Institut für die Wissenschaften vom Menschen
Spittelauer Lände 3, A-1090 Wien
*43-1-313 585 08
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