Berlin Summer Academy 2001 “Human Origins”

This year’s Summer Academy was entitled “Human Origins” and took place at the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science from August 13 to 24, 2001. As in previous years, a summer school was organized during the first week, led by Robert Proctor and Michael Hagner who were assisted by Marianne Sommer and Jens Lachmund. In the second week, a conference was held that covered the following themes: “Fossils and Their Interpretation,” “Language and the Definition of Humanity,” “Earliest Tools, Art, and Fire,” “Extraterrestial Life,” “Human Diversity.”

The subject “Human Origins” has recently received much attention in several fields, the humanities and the natural sciences. Consequently scholars in the sciences and humanities such as archeologists, art historians, anthropologists, linguists, molecular biologists and historians of science were invited so that they could pursue the question of human origin from different points of view. With this goal in mind, scholars discussed theories and philosophical approaches to the hominid phylogenetic tree; the development of language, tools and art; ideas of race; and popular representations in media like film, art and literature.

List of speakers:

Manfred Bierwisch (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin): The Apparent Paradox of Language Evolution: Can Universal Grammar be Explained by Adaptive Selection?

William H. Calvin (University of Washington): Homo sapiens sapiens. Version 0.9

Claudine Cohen (EHESS): Searching for the “Missing Link” at the Turn of the 19th Century: Mortillet’s “Anthropopithèque” and Bourgeois’ “Tertiary Eoliths”

Margaret W. Conkey (University of California, Berkeley): So Close, But Yet So Far: How Can We Think about “Paleolithic Art”?

John A. Gowlett (University of Liverpool): Early Fire: The Case for the Prosecution and the Case for the Defence

Pierre Jacob (CNRS, Paris): Chomsky, Cognitive Science, Naturalism and Internalism

Adrienne Mayor (Independent Scholar, Princeton): Fossil Remains and the Anthropomorphic Imagination in Classical Antiquity

Stephanie Moser (University of Southampton): Representing Human Origins in Museums: Dismantling the Display Canon

Paul Park (Novelist, North Adams, MA, U.S.A.): If Lions Could Speak: Imagining the Alien

Robert Proctor (Pennsylvania State University): Three Roots of Human Recency: Molecular Anthropology, the Refigured Acheulean, and the UNESCO Response to Auschwitz

Martin J. S. Rudwick (University of California San Diego and Cambridge University): The Antiquity of Man before The Antiquity of Man

Nathan Schlanger (Institut National d’Histoire de l’Art, Paris): Axes of Perfection. Stone Implements and the Predicament of Progress in 19th-Century Prehistoric Archaeology

Pat Shipman (Pennsylvania State University): Missing Links: Eugène Dubois and the Origins of Paleoanthropology (co-authored by Paul Storm)

Woodruff T. Sullivan (University of Washington): 7 1/2 Reflections on Extraterrestrial Intelligence and How to Find It

Ian Tattersall (American Museum of Natural History, New York): Species Diversity in Human Evolution

Jürgen Trabant (Freie Universität Berlin): The Origin of Language: Traditions and New Developments of the Debate