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School of History, Philosophy and Culture
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Paul Weindling joined Oxford Brookes University in 1998 as Research Professor in the History of Medicine. From 1978 until 1998 he was at the Wellcome Unit for the History of Medicine at the University of Oxford. Following graduation from the University of Oxford, he completed an MA and PhD at University College London.
He was from 1999-2004 a member of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft President’s Committee for the History of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft under National Socialism, and was on the Advisory Boards of the AHRC project on German-Jewish refugees, and on the history of the Robert Koch-Institute. He is currently on the advisory board of the project of the German Society for Psychiatry project on psychiatrists in Nazi Germany, and a member of the project on the history of the German Foundation for Memory, Responsibility and the Future. He has advised the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Swiss Research Council, and other national funding agencies. He is a Trustee of the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics (CARA).
Special Subject for the MA in Health, Medicine and Society:
History of eugenics; public health organizations; twentieth century disease patterns.
Professor Paul Weindling’s research covers evolution and society, public health, and human experimentation post-1800. He has especial interests in eugenics, human experiments, corporate philanthropies like the Rockefeller Foundation, and medical refugees. He has recently completed a biographical project on the remarkable life of psychiatrist John West Thompson.
Research in progress is as follows:
Established in the 1930s to rescue scientists and scholars from Nazi Europe, the Society for the Protection of Science and Learning (SPSL, founded in 1933 as the Academic Assistance Council and now known as the Council for Assisting Refugee Academics) has had an illustrious career. No fewer than eighteen of its early grantees became Nobel Laureates and 120 were elected Fellows of the British Academy and Royal Society in the UK. While a good deal has been written on the SPSL in the 1930s and 1940s, and especially on the achievements of the outstanding scientists rescued, much less attention has been devoted to the scholars who contributed to the social sciences and humanities, and there has been virtually no research on the Society after the Second World War. The archive-based essays in this volume, written to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the organisation, are the first to attempt to fill this gap. The essays include revisionist accounts of the founder of the SPSL and some of its early grantees. For the first time, the story examines its relationship with associates and allies, the experiences of women academics and those of the post- war academic refugees from Communist Europe, apartheid South Africa and Pinochet's Chile. In addition to scholarly contributions, the volume includes moving essays by the children of early grantees. At a time of increasing international concern with refugees and immigration, it is a timely reminder of the enormous contribution generations of academic refugees have made - and continue to make - to learning the world over.
In 1945–46, representatives of the U.S. government made similar discoveries in both Germany and Japan, unearthing evidence of unethical experiments on human beings that could be viewed as war crimes. The outcomes in the two defeated nations, however, were strikingly different. In Germany, the United States, influenced by the Canadian physician John Thompson, played a key role in bringing Nazi physicians to trial and publicizing their misdeeds. In Japan, the United States played an equally key role in concealing information about the biological warfare experiments and in securing immunity from prosecution for the perpetrators. The greater force of appeals to national security and wartime exigency help to explain these different outcomes.
The legacy of German medical research in the era of National Socialism remains contentious, as regards identification of victims, and the appropriate handling of scientific specimens. These questions are acutely posed by the scientific slides, brain sections, and other body parts of victims, who were killed for research. These slides continued to be held by Austrian and German scientific institutes in the second half of the twentieth century. That scientists continued research on these slides between 1945 and the late 1980s suggests a disassociation of guilt and responsibility for the deaths of the victims by the German scientific community.
In 1989-90 an intense debate erupted in the Federal Republic of Germany over the status of anatomical specimens from the period of National Socialism. Pressure was brought on the German universities and research institutes to remove body parts. The solution was deemed rapid burial of all specimens whose provenance was in doubt. A range of options was considered, and the eventual decision to bury cremated remains was deemed the best way to draw a line under an uncomfortable past of Nazi medical atrocities. The aim was to achieve closure on this issue by a rapid "cleansing" of collections. However, identification of victims was left unresolved amidst the heated debates at the time.
The science and ideas of Julian Sorrell Huxley represent not only considerable contributions to evolutionary theory but also to eugenic thought and social planning. Huxley’s career history as an international figure was complex. This paper sees Huxley’s peripatetic career as linked to ideological agendas of «a new world
order». The problems addressed here are, first, the extent of continuities in eugenic commitments from his interwar views and, second, to determine the contours of Huxley’s post-Second World War eugenic thinking. Huxley emerges as a crucial bridging figure from what has been referred to as «old eugenics» to a new eugenics based on molecular biology, providing an influential analysis of human evolution and a set of persuasively appealing concepts for both the wider public and scientific elite.
The analysis presented in this chapter shows that multiple types of unethical human subjects research occurred under National Socialism. Not only were large numbers of victims affected, but also the number of surviving victims was far higher than anticipated. During the war, prisoners clandestinely documented coerced experiments. On liberation, former prisoners documented the effects of experiments, including the sulfonamide experiments on 74 Polish women at Ravensbrück. These efforts to document Nazi medical experiments had a profound impact on the Allied scientific intelligence and war crimes investigation teams during the immediate postwar aftermath. The British liberators of Bergen-Belsen encountered survivors of Auschwitz experiments. The medical trial at Nuremberg was the only one of the United States-mounted successor trials at Nuremberg that relied extensively on victims’ evidence. At the same time, the scientific intelligence officer Thompson set out to document all coerced Nazi experiments as “medical war crimes” in an International Scientific Commission. The aim of fully documenting the experiments is now being carried out by a comprehensive project, which is reconstructing the life histories of over 20,000 victims. The results are discussed here in terms of gender and the Nazi category of race.
The Oxford Textbook of Clinical Research Ethics is the first comprehensive and systematic reference on clinical research ethics. Under the editorship of experts from the U.S. National Institutes of Health of the United States, the book's 73 chapters offer a wide-ranging and systematic examination of all aspects of research with human beings. Considering the historical triumphs of research as well as its tragedies, the textbook provides a framework for analyzing the ethical aspects of research studies with human beings. Through both conceptual analysis and systematic reviews of empirical data, the contributors examine issues ranging from scientific validity, fair subject selection, risk benefit ratio, independent review, and informed consent to focused consideration of international research ethics, conflicts of interests, and other aspects of responsible conduct of research. The editors of The Oxford Textbook of Clinical Research Ethics offer a work that critically assesses and advances scholarship in the field of human subjects research. Comprehensive in scope and depth, this book will be a crucial resource for researchers in the medical sciences, as well as teachers and students.
Reviews have been published in:- American Historical Review, Annals of Science, British Journal for the History of Science, British Medical Journal, Bulletin of the History of Medicine, Bulletin of the Society for the Study of Labour History, Canadian Jounal of History, Central European History, Dynamis, English Historical Review, German Historical Institute London. Bulletin, German History, Gesnerus, History, History and Philosophy of the Life Sciences, History Workshop Journal, Isis, Journal for the History of the Behavioral Sciences, Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, Journal of Modern History, Journal of Social Policy, Medical History, Monumenta Nipponica, Nature, New Community, Nuncius, Social History of Medicine, Times Higher Educational Supplement, Tmes Literary Supplement, Vierteljahrschrift für Sozial- und Wirtschaftsgeschichte.
Paul Weindling, Anna von Villiez, Aleksandra Loewenau (Oxford Brookes University), and Nichola Farron (Amsterdam) - ‘Researching Experiment Victims - Findings and Problems’ [36:15]. This paper was presented at the international symposium: 'Reassessing Nazi Human Experiments and Coerced Research, 1933-1945: New Findings, Interpretations and Problems', 4 - 7 July 2013, Wadham College, Oxford.
'The Biology of the Holocaust' [29:40]. A paper presented by Paul Weindling at the conference: 'Crafting Humans:From Genesis to Eugenics and Beyond', 8-10 September 2011, Queens College, Oxford.