"The 'Instrumentalisation' of the Dead Body?: Organ Donation as a Challenge to Human Cultures"

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Armin Heinen

(RWTH Aachen)

"The 'Instrumentalisation' of the Dead Body?: Organ Donation as a Challenge to Human Cultures"


Paper presented at:

Intercultural Humanism: Challenges, Experiences, Visions, Strategies

10-11 September 2010, Christ Church College, Oxford


Convened by The Berendel Foundation in association with the Modern European History Research Centre, University of Oxford


Abstract: In the first part of my presentation I will investigate the human taboo of violating the dead body. In the second part I am going to show how differently social cultures have treated the question of organ donation in the course of time. Subsequently, I will deduce some ideas for the promotion of organ donations as a human, culturally sensitive form of solidarity between people of different religion and attitudes in the third section.


Short Bio: Armin Heinen is professor of Modern and Contemporary History at the RWTH in Aachen. His doctoral thesis dealt with the Romanian Legion ‘Archangel Michael’ and his ‘Habilitation’ focused on the political, social and economic history of the Saarland, 1945-1955. His current research concentrates on the cultural logic of violence (death penalty in the US and Europe, physical violence during the Romanian Holocaust), the interconnection between history writing, and technical cultures, Romanian ‘Begriffsgeschichte’.



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