"Human heredity in the twentieth century" to be held at the University of Exeter on 2-4 September 2010 (360G-Wellcome-092313_Z_10_Z)
The idea that physical and mental characters can be attributed to discrete hereditary factors or "genes" has profoundly affected our understanding of human nature and society. The perceived social implications of genetic knowledge have, in turn, had a profound effect on the development of scientific methods, concepts, theories and technologies. Modern knowledge about human heredity, however, does not only stem from the discipline of genetics. Various fields such as medicine, anthropology, and psychology have maintained and developed their own ways of analysing and explaining the phenomena of heredity through technologies such as intelligence testing, surveys of fertility, patterns of disease, blood groups and linguistic boundaries. The workshop will produce a much needed and comprehensive picture of the various scientific, medical and political practices that have shaped the notion of human heredity from 1900 to the mid-1970s (when new biotechnologies opened up a new age of human heredity). It will focus on developments that have hitherto attracted little attention in the historiography of human heredity, and which shed new light on the interaction between science and society and on the transfer of knowledge and practices between scientific fields.
£5,000 15 Feb 2010