Lecture Series "Knowledge and Its Resources: Historical Reciprocities"

Animals' Peoples: Questions Concerning Bioresources

14:00 - 15:30 Uhr
Veranstaltet von
Anke te Heesen (HU Berlin), Friedrich Steinle (TU Berlin), Viktoria Tkaczyk (HU Berlin), Heike Weber (TU Berlin)
Vortragende Person(en)
Lisa Onaga (MPIWG)

The formation of new visions about the preservation and continuity of human cultures and life itself during the decades following the Second World War have played a significant role in the formation of biological knowledge. Animal bodies are especially relevant for understanding the particular human choices that inform how new, diverse biological knowledges are authored, owned, or used. In this lecture, the concept of "bioresource" is introduced as a means to rethink how we understand the history of biological collections writ large, from animal stocks developed and sold for nutrition and textiles, to model organisms used in experimental biology, agriculture, and biomedicine. The normalized idea of a bioresource in Japan provides a key case for analyzing how living things factor into the production of knowledge. In particular, the intimate relationship between the arrest and demobilization of animals, capitalistic frameworks, and biological collections are brought into the fore by tracing the process of, firstly, creating the infrastructure to house "bioresources" and manage hundreds of varieties of mutant and conventional silkworms in Japan, and, secondly, organizing a means to communicate the contents of the bioresources to others. In this creation of bioresources, animals once associated with craft practices especially become decontextualized, and certain kinds of knowledge about peoples become legible while others stay unnoticed or out of reach. The contexts of world development, and postwar and disaster recovery in Japan pose a set of issues that are relevant for discussions of "bioresources" in other political economic settings where historical actors deal with similar thresholds between exploitation and benefit-sharing.

For further information on this lecture series please visit this website