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FOLK – From racial types to DNA sequences

Race, ethnicity, ancestry, and human genetic variation 1945-2013

Workshop 1April 2-4, 2014 How do social and cultural notions of 'ethnicity', 'race' and ancestry interact with the production of scientific knowledge about genetic ancestry and human genetic variation? The workshop dealt with this question, including its ethical dimension. We discussed ongoing processes and historical questions about the continuity or discontinuity between the racial typologies of “old” physical anthropology and present day human genetic variation research. Image: The front page of the UNESCO Courier showing the first expert Statement on race, 1950. (UNESCO Courier July-August 1950/UNESCO.)

Participants and paper titles (by invitation only): Jenny Bangham "Blood groups and the rhetoric of ‘neutrality’ in mid-twentieth century human genetics" Hallvard Fossheim "Population studies and the ethics of representativeness" Kriti Kapila "Indi-gene: On Some Locations of Culture in Contemporary India" Emma Kowal and Joanna Radin "Exceptional and fundamental: Indigenous people in human biology and postcolonial science" Jon Røyne Kyllingstad "Constructions of biological difference between Sami and Non-Sami Scandinavians (1930-2000)" Åsa M. Larsson "In our bones? Genetics, archaeology and the search for ancestors in Scandinavia" Ageliki Lefkaditou  "From Calipers to Sequencers: Physical Anthropology in Greece and the Construction of Racial and National Identity, 1950’s to present" Amade M’charek "Race, Region and Time: Or the forensic presence of the past" Gisli Palsson "Human variation: A biosocial perspective" Katharina Schramm  "What is (in) a Population? Scientific and Political Representations in South Africa" Edna Maria Suárez-Díaz "Race, ethnicity and populations in post-revolutionary Mexico" Ricardo Ventura Santos "Indians, mestizos and shades of “primitiveness”: Human biological diversity research in Brazil in the post World War II period"

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Ancestry, ethnicity, race, and DNA 1990-2015

Workshop 2September 3–5, 2015 Image above: Already in 1993, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research at sponsored a conference to discuss the controversial theoretical, methodological and ethical implications of the Human Genome Diversity Project. (Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, Inc.) The technological revolution in genetic research during the last couple of decades has led to a boom in research on human genetic variation, including research on the genetic makeup, ancestry, and prehistory of ethnically, linguistically, or geographically defined human populations. As a result, historians and philosophers of science, social scientists, biological anthropologists, and geneticists have once again engaged into discussions about the reality, reemergence, or even the non-disappearance of race. This workshop turns the attention towards the notions of 'ethnicity', 'race', and ‘ancestry’ associated with the production of knowledge about human genetic variation, and will engage with questions such as: How are these concepts defined and used within diverse research areas such as human evolution, population movements and prehistory, biomedicine, and forensics. To what extent do they reflect social, cultural, or political ideas about ancestry, ethnicity, race and nationhood What are the social, cultural and/or political implications of their use? Participants and paper titles (by invitation only): Commentator: Alan Goodman Yulia Egorova"Genomic sovereignty and genetic research on Jewish populations" Hallvard Fossheim"Past responsibility? Research, ethnicity, and the ethical relevance of history" Joan Fujimura"Big Biology, infrastructures, and race: How genomics is being used to misrepresent race" Erika Hagelberg"The biological origins of the Rapanui: past and present research" ​ Jon Røyne Kyllingstad"Ethnicity and genes in North-Scandinavian prehistory" Åsa Larsson"Return of the ancestors. Ancient DNA, archaeology and the public" Ageliki Lefkaditou"One to fit them all: biological reconstructions of a Greek past" Jonathan Marks"Race, botanical metaphors, and the bio-politics of human ancestry"​ Amade M’Charek"Doing Time: DNA and the dis/continuous city" Catherine Nash"From race to genography: geographical perspectives on accounts of genetic distance and difference" Ramya Rajagopalan"Variations on a chip: SNPs and the making of populations in human genetic variation studies" Marianne Sommer"What's in a tree? On the geneticization of an icon"

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Nationalism and Racial Theories

Workshop 3April 15, 2016University of Macedonia, Greece Image above: Louis Dalrymple, “The High Tide of Immigration—A National Menace,” Judge Magazine, August 22, 1903. (The Ohio State University, Billy Ireland Cartoon Library & Museum.) The workshop discusses the entanglements of scientific racial theories developed in the 20th century with the emergence or re-emergence of nationalistic discources. Taking as its starting points the north and south of Europe, it investigates how such theories influenced perceptions of nationhood, ethnicity, and indigenousness, the ethical and normative questions associated with such research, and the nuances and difficulties of discussing such concepts across Europe. Participants and paper titles (by invitation only): Jon Røyne Kyllingstad "From ‘race’ and ‘people’ to ‘ethnicity’ and ‘population’ in the study of Sami prehistory, 1930s-2000s" Hallvard Fossheim "History and normativity" Ageliki Lefkaditou "Biological theories of race in Greece" Vemund Aarbakke, Assistant Professor at the School of Political Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki"Conflicting concepts of ethnicity in the modern Balkan states" Commentator: Dimitrios Stamatopoulos, Associate Professor at the Balkan, Slavic and Oriental Studies Department, University of Macedonia.

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