Date, Venue, and Attendance


May 28–29, 2019


The Rausing Room, Department of History of Science and Ideas, Uppsala University, Centre for the Humanities, Building 6 (visiting address: Thunbergsvägen 3P).


If you would like to attend without a paper or a presentation, the deadline for application is March 22, 2019. Apply by sending an e-mail to Morag Ramsay. The number of participants is limited, please indicate your reasons for wanting to take part in the workshop.

Background and Purpose

This workshop seeks to bring together scholars interested in medical research ethics and regulation to discuss their origins and development in various historical and national contexts. On an empirical level, focus might be placed on the policies, guidelines, institutions and organizations designed to impose ethical regulations on medical research on humans in different countries. This may include analyses of the social, political, economic and cultural conditions under which these regulatory frameworks and regimes appeared and developed.

This workshop will highlight various analytical and theoretical perspectives on the development of medical research ethics. Our aim is to provide an opportunity to work together and acquire a close reading of ongoing research, by circulating papers/work-in-progress texts in advance, and with the possible production of a joint publication. We welcome contributions interested in the history of medical research ethics which represent a diversity of viewpoints from the humanities and the social sciences.


(Preliminary programme, April 30, 2019): Downloadable programme

Keynote Speakers

  • Adam Hedgecoe, Cardiff University, UK: "Local autonomy versus centralised ethics: Policy disputes and the development of research ethics review in the UK"
  • Noortje Jacobs, Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam, Netherlands: "Ethics by Committee. Governing Human Experimentation in a Liberal Democracy, 1945-2000"

Practical Details

The workshop will run for two full days, i.e., morning to late afternoon May 28–29, 2019. Registration, lunches and conference dinner are free of charge for all participants. Two nights accommodation is also included for those participants presenting papers.

Call for Papers

We especially, but not exclusively, are interested in papers and work-in-progress presentations related to the following topics:

  • How has the practice of regulating medical research ethics evolved in different historical settings and contexts?
  • How can we further the understanding of various national regulation regimes? What are the determinants of their different trajectories – from local context to extra-national influences?
  • What actors and institutions have been involved, and what relations have been formed between the medical community, the political arena, and the media?
  • RECs as manifestations of changing political, cultural and moral conceptions that underlay a set of new governance regimes for medical research in the post-war era.

Abstract Deadline

Abstracts for papers or work-in-progress presentations, of a maximum of 300 words, should be submitted no later than March 22, 2019, to Morag Ramsey. Please provide your full name, institutional affiliation, and contact details. The number of participants is limited. We will evaluate the abstracts based on the originality of the research and the relevance to the theme of the workshop. The workshop language is English. Applicants will be notified if their papers have been accepted by March 31, 2019. If you are accepted, please note that papers should be submitted for circulation no later than May 13, 2019, to Morag Ramsey.