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Accepted Paper:

Human biological diversity in times of crisis  
Alexandra Widmer (York University) Veronika Lipphardt (University of Freiburg)

Paper long abstract:

Throughout the 20th century, human biological diversity has been a challenging research topic for life scientists. Its political implications constantly undermined the ideal of scientific objectivity, while the analytical tools for studying variation in other organisms could not adequately address the imperative of empirical research on human test subjects in situ. Human biological diversity has also been implicitly or explicitly employed by medical researchers, epidemiologists or human geneticists to represent or understand crises of various kinds. This paper examines how categories of human biological diversity are instrumentalized in times of health, environmental and reproductive crisis or mobilized in preparation for avoiding potential crises. Our analysis draws from (post)colonial case studies as diverse as biomedical studies related to Soviet nuclear legacies, depopulation in the Pacific islands and human genetics in Africa. We focus on scientists' practices, in particular in how the notions of experiment and intervention might be part of their observations and techniques in the field.

Panel IW006
Medical knowledge, health, crises, and processes of diversification
  Session 1