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Andrzej Grzegorczyk

The Kulmhof extermination camp in Chełmno nad Nerem was the first camp set up by the Nazis to exterminate Jews during the Second World War. The history of Kulmhof has long been an area of interest for academics, but despite thorough research it remains one of the least-known places of its kind among the public. Studies of the role of archaeology in acquiring knowledge about the functioning of the camp have been particularly compelling. The excavations carried out intermittently over a thirty-year period (1986–2016), which constitute the subject of this article, have played a key role in the rise in public interest in the history of the camp.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
A reassessment
Jon Seligman, Paul Bauman, Richard Freund, Harry Jol, Alastair McClymont, and Philip Reeder

The Ponar-Paneriai base, the main extermination site of Vilna-Vilnius, began its existence as a Red Army fuel depot in 1940. After Nazi occupation of the city in 1941 the Einsatzgruppen and mostly Lithuanian members of the Ypatingasis būrys used the pits dug for the fuel tanks for the murder of the Jews of Vilna and large numbers of Polish residents. During its operation, Ponar was cordoned off, but changes to the topography of the site since the Second World War have made a full understanding of the site difficult. This article uses contemporary plans and aerial photographs to reconstruct the layout of the site, in order to better understand the process of extermination, the size of the Ponar base and how the site was gradually reduced in size after 1944.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Open Access (free)
Kitty S. Millet

This article has two aims: to examine the effects of victim proximity to crematoria ashes and ash pits both consciously and unconsciously in a subset of Holocaust survivors, those who were incarcerated at the dedicated death camps of Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, as well as Auschwitz-Birkenau; and to contrast these effects, the subject positions they produce, with their suppression as the basis both for a strategy of survival during incarceration and for a reimagined identity after the war. Within a cohort of four survivors from Rudolf Reder (Belzec), Esther Raab (Sobibor), Jacob Wiernik (Treblinka) and Shlomo Venezia (Auschwitz), I trace the ways in which discrete memories and senses became constitutive in the formation of the subject prior to and after escape – the experience of liberation – so that essentially two kinds of subjects became visible, the subject in liberation and the subject of ashes. In conjunction with these two kinds of subjects, I introduce the compensatory notion of a third path suggested both by H. G. Adler and Anna Orenstein, also Holocaust survivors, that holds both positions together in one space, the space of literature, preventing the two positions from being stranded in dialectical opposition to each other.

Human Remains and Violence: An Interdisciplinary Journal
Andrea Ballabeni and Davide Danovi

This chapter explores the possible implementation of novel policies for the funding and communication of science. The chapter’s authors start this journey describing the general landscape and inefficiencies in the system, with particular reference to the process of peer review. Current trends (such as open access journals and new funding schemes) are then highlighted and stemming from these, the opportunity of genuinely disruptive innovation.

in The freedom of scientific research
Reflections on the relationship between science and society from the perspective of physics
Lucio Piccirillo

Piccirillo moves from the premise that science, in any form and format, is a valuable enterprise. If this is accepted, then scientists should enjoy a substantial degree of freedom from various forms of restrictions. Financial restrictions obviously call into question wider issues about the morality of resource rationing. Other forms of restrictions, based on ignorance, fear or political or ideological credo, are harder to justify. Scientific freedom is not just a political or ideological matter. It is also a matter for scientists to actively deal with: it is the role of scientists to explain, in accessible terms, the importance of scientific endeavours that may appear either grand and remote, incomprehensible and detached from the life of many laypeople, or otherwise frivolous and trivial. Piccirillo takes on this role and discusses examples of seemingly grand and frivolous science, such as the Large Hadron Collider and the Markov chain, explains their purposes and importance and shows that there is a big added value to society from small and big science if they work together.

in The freedom of scientific research
Open Access (free)
Simona Giordano
in The freedom of scientific research
Maintaining trust
Heidi Mertes

This chapter discusses ways in which the scientific community can maintain or build trust with regard to the contentious area of embryo research. A first prerequisite is transparency about what type of research embryos are being used for, especially in relation to embryo/gamete donors. For at least four types of research/procedures – stem cell research, genome editing, extensive embryo culturing and transfer of embryos to other research facilities – extra caution is required, and explicit consent should be sought.

in The freedom of scientific research
Friends or foes?
Roberto Baldoli and Claudio M. Radaelli

Although they are often pitched one against the other, evidence-based policy and precaution are compatible, at least in the field of freedom of scientific research. To support this claim, the authors discuss the European Union and its position on precaution. The chapter argues that there is nothing inherently anti-evidence in the precautionary principle adopted by the European Union. The problem lies in how it is manipulated for reasons of political advocacy. To reconcile precaution and evidence-based policy, the authors argue that it is precautionary to not prohibit any scientific research unless there is empirical evidence that costs and damages outweigh benefits. This guarantees freedom of science, which is also protected by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union. This freedom, however, needs to be balanced by social trust and scientific responsibility. In other words, a new social contract is needed, in which scientists obtain freedom but are accountable to and in active dialogue with society.

in The freedom of scientific research
The case of mitochondrial transfer
Iain Brassington

This chapter examines the relationship between mitochondrial transfer technologies and scientific freedom. Transfer of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) promises to eliminate mitochondrial disease from affected embryos. This procedure promises to improve future lives significantly; but if it turns out to have undesirable consequences, it could cause several generations of harm. This raises questions about the freedom to pursue potentially harmful techniques. How should we weigh the risks? Moreover, faced with the claim that altering the human genome is eugenic, is the freedom to pursue eugenic technologies a freedom worth defending? We must acknowledge the risks of mtDNA transfer; but they should be kept in perspective. The freedom to attempt to free future generations from inherited illness is worth protecting.

in The freedom of scientific research
From theory to advocacy
Andrea Boggio and Cesare P. R. Romano

While international law has recognised a human right to science since 1948, the binding normative content of this right still needs to be clarified and specified. It is rarely discussed by states when they report on their obligations under the various international human rights treaties (UN and ICESCR), and receives scant attention by international human rights bodies. To advance our understanding of this under-studied and under-appreciated right, this chapter offers an overview of ways in which the right to science can be advanced and realised. The chapter is divided into three parts: the first section discusses the recognition of the right to science under international and regional legal instruments; the second presents a literature review; and the third discusses the use (mobilisation) of international adjudicative and political forums to advance the right to science and to shape its normative content.

in The freedom of scientific research