New Conf Podcasts: 'Crafting Humans' podcasts migrate across from the 'Berendel Foundation'

The Pulse Project is pleased to announce that all of the following podcasts originally produced and hosted by The Berendel Foundation have now migrated to the Pulse Project, and span most all of the papers presented to the conference:

"Crafting Humans:From Genesis to Eugenics and Beyond"

8-10 September 2011, Queens College, Oxford


Second Annual Conference of the Berendel Foundation, in association with the Centre for health Medicine and Society and History of Race and Eugenics Research Group at Oxford Brookes University, the University of Oxford, and the Wellcome Trust



Speeches to the Conference's Opening Reception (Atrium, Ashmolean Museum): "Opening Speeches"

     Sorin Antohi, Opening Remarks; HRH Prince Radu of Romania, Conferring the Cantemir Prize; Alison Bashford, Acceptance Speech; Robert Evans, The Cantemir Institute

     at Oxford University; and Marius Turda, Opening Remarks

Moshe Idel  (Hebrew University, Jerusalem): "Golem: Between Automaton and Human Being"

Frank R. Ankersmit (University of Groningen): "Aftermaths and ‘Foremaths’"

Antonis Liakos (University of Athens): "The End of History and the Liminality of the Human Condition: From Kojève to Agamben"

Sorin Antohi (The Berendel Foundation, London): "From Cosmos to Polis: Making (and Unmaking)Humans"

Longxi Zhang (City University of Hong Kong): "Frankenstein's Disciples: Tampering with Life and the Danger of Eugenics"

Roger Griffin (Oxford Brookes University): "Bionomic Man (and Woman): Fantasies of Anthropological Revolution as the Symptom of Modernity’s Nomic Crisis"

Marius Turda (Oxford Brookes University): "Crafting a Healthy Nation: Eugenic Texts and Biopolitical Practices"

Paul J. Weindling (Oxford Brookes University): "The Biology of the Holocaust"

Dan Stone (Royal Holloway, University of London): "Race Science and Race Mysticism in Nazi Genocide"

Alison Bashford (University of Sydney): "Julian Huxley’s Transhumanism"

Nicholas Agar (University of Wellington): "How Much Human Enhancement is Too Much?"

Diane B. Paul(University of Massachusetts, Boston): "Commentary on  '(Trans-)Humanism"

Yehuda Elkana (Emeritus, Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin): "Cosmopolis: Towards a New Type of Humans?"


Conference Abstract

Crafting humans - and its corollary human enhancement - is a contested topic, both in medical sciences and the humanities. With continuing advances in science and technology, scientists and the general public alike are aware that the basic foundations of the human condition are now at stake. One important way in which the human body could be changed is through the enhancement of basic physical and mental capacities. The time has come to consider the normative, ethical and philosophical questions raised by such a prospect.

To investigate this topic and connect it to one of the most innovative trans-disciplinary fields, the medical humanities, the second annual conference aims to offer a critical synthesis of the various cultural (metaphysical, religious, mystical, poetic, etc.) and biological visions of ‘Crafting Humans’. These visions are set against the backdrop of master narratives (Genesis- and Apocalypse-type, respectively), as well as of those scenarios, blueprints and policies related to the making, transforming, and unmaking of entire societies/nations or specific groups.

In all recorded cultures, the creation and destruction of the cosmos and humans are intertwined. Cosmogonies and theogonies are frequently accompanied by (homological) anthropogonies: humans are crafted/created by supernatural forces, usually by the most powerful or by the one and only god. Symmetrically, visions of the end of the world (and, for the moderns, the downfall of gods/the death of God) are associated with speculations about the end of humankind.

Narratives about human existence and human nature—be they ahistorical, cyclical, teleological, philosophical, evolutionary, etc.—have been shaped by the above-mentioned paradigms. Such reflections and imaginaries have inspired and legitimated both theoretical and practical programmes of ‘crafting’ humans, ranging from the religious/spiritualist and the philosophical/cultural to the secular and the scientific/scientistic; from the religious and mystical quest for human perfection to the biopolitical eugenic state of the twentieth century and current theories of human enhancement. 

While vast bodies of scholarship have been devoted to each of these topics individually, this conference is the first attempt to discuss them in a synchronized way, as interrelated variants of the most central story in history, that of human perfectibility.


Conference Volume

Marius Turda (ed.). Crafting Humans: From Genesis to Eugenics and Beyond. Goettingen: V&R Unipress, 2013



© 2011. All content,