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FOLK – From racial types to DNA sequences

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

Workshop 1
April 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.

Ancestry, ethnicity, race, and DNA 1990-2015

Workshop 2,
September 3–5, 2015

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?

Nationalism and Racial Theories

Workshop 3
April 15, 2016
University of Macedonia, Greece

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.