Conference – European Conceptions of “Life”: Biology, Psychology, Philosophy 1850-1950

The Consortium for Intellectual and Cultural History and
the Remarque Institute at New York University
present a conference in european intellectual history:

European Conceptions of ‘Life’: Biology, Psychology, Philosophy 1850-1950
Friday, December 10, 2010

Perched between different conceptions and practices of the life sciences, philosophy, historical inquiry and political purpose, the concept of life emerged in the later nineteenth century as a site of tension in and between different movements that drew upon its manifold ties and used it at times in a vague and popular and at others in highly precise fashion. What kind of “vague” concept was this? How did it become useful, what confusions and contrasts did it allow for, and how did different different disciplines and sciences take up its very notion? This conference aims to present different ways in which conceptions of life in the life sciences, especially in biology and psychology facilitated problems, concepts, and a guides of philosophical, scientific, and political thought.

Conference Program 

9:45-10 Introduction (Stefanos Geroulanos, NYU History)

10:00-12:30 Moderator: Anson Rabinbach (History, Princeton University)

Jan Goldstein (History, University of Chicago)
The Tocqueville-Gobineau Correspondence: Political Affiliations of the Flesh, circa 1850
Knox Peden (History, Tulane University and University of Queensland)
The Alkaline of Recapitulation: Haeckel and History
Ben Kafka (Media, Culture, and Communication, New York University)
The Destiny of Anatomy (On Marie Bonaparte)

Lunch Break

2:00-3:45 Moderator: Andreas Killen (History, City College of New York)

Camille Robcis (History, Cornell University)
Child Psychoanalysis in France and the Oedipalization of Life
Stefanos Geroulanos (History, New York University) and Todd Meyers (Anthropology, Wayne State University)
Kurt Goldstein and the 1930s Revision of Physiology

4:15-6:00 Moderator: Bruno Strasser (History of Science, Yale University)

Ruth Leys (Humanities Center, Johns Hopkins University):
Vital Affects: Historical and Theoretical Reflections

Benjamin Lazier (History, Reed College):
Biospherics: Globalizing Life in the Twentieth Century

The conference will be held at the Remarque Institute Seminar Room
King Juan Carlos Center Room 324. 53 Washington Square South.
New York University. New York, NY 10012

Please note that space is limited. If you would like to attend, please reply to and RSVP.

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