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Here you can find announcements and abstracts of the workshops from 2001 to 2009 and links to the Workshop Reports.

Cover of the first essay collection named
Cover of the first essay collection named "Heredity Produced".

This project centers on the history of the scientific and technological practices in which knowledge of biological heredity became materially entrenched. The project also seeks to define cultural contexts in which this knowledge unfolded, as well as to trace its effects. Knowledge of heredity is taken here as encompassing much more than the scientific discipline of genetics. Rather, it circumscribes a much broader knowledge regime in which a naturalistic conception of inheritance gradually formed, one that in fact came to influence all areas of modern society, including medical, legal, political, and ethical discourses. The aim of the project is to explore the changing practices, standards, and architectures of this regime, as well as their particular historical conjunctions.

Collaborative and interdisciplinary in nature, the project aims to draw together expertise, besides from the history of science, from other historical disciplines such as the history of medicine, law, economics, art and literature, as well as political history and anthropology. The research group is exploring a variety of case studies, ranging from the history of generation and reproduction from the eighteenth to the twentieth century to developments in molecular biology and biomedicine at the turn of the twenty-first century.

During the last years, a series of four workshops was held, each concentrating on a specific epoch in the cultural history of heredity. Covering the period from the seventeenth through the early-twentieth century, these workshops facilitated a lively and growing cooperation of international scholars who constantly contributed to the joint project of writing a cultural history of heredity from a long-term perspective. Results of the first two of these workshops were presented in the essay collection entitled Heredity Produced. At the Crossroads of Biology, Politics and Culture, 1500-1870 (Cambridge, MIT Press, 2007). A second volume, based on the last two workshops, is currently in preparation (Heredity Explored: Between Public Domain and Experimental Science, 1850-1930). The project will be concluded in the fall of 2010 with a workshop on the history of human heredity in the twentieth century.