This is an interdisciplinary research project that intends to confront the policy and heritage issues arising when the search for knowledge sits uncomfortably with what society regards as right and good. The project is based at the Department of Medieval Studies and involves cooperation with several CEU programs and research centers: the Department of Medieval Studies (represented by the supervisor of the project, József Laszlovszky, and Gerhard Jaritz); the Center for Law and Ethics in Biomedicine (represented by Judit Sándor); the Religious Studies Program (Matthias Riedl), the Jewish Studies Program (Carsten Wilke); the Department of History (Katalin Szende and Daniel Ziemann) and the Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies.
The project is based on a network of physical anthropologists, bioethical and legal experts, scholars of religious studies and heritage specialists already established by an ESF project application by Irene Barbiera, an alumna of the Department of Medieval Studies who, as a research fellow, coordinates the project in the form of a CEU 20th Anniversary Postdoctoral Fellowship.
The project aims to collect academic research results related to medieval and early modern human remains, policy protocols, legal regulations, research protocols and guidelines as a repository for working out best-practice reference materials.
In the Academic Year CELAB participated in this project in the form of lectures given by Judit Sándor and Enikő Demény in the framework of the Seminar Cycle: Caring for Dead Bodies from Medieval to Contemporary Society, organized by CEU Department of Medieval Studies. On March 20, 2012 Enikő Demény presented on Dissecting the Dead for Medical Purposes: Attitudes towards Deceased Organ Donations examining the extent to which the medieval cult of relics influences the dissection of bodies in modern societies, and discussing how they impact modern donations of organs. On May 15, 2012 Judit Sándor presented on The Human and the Person – Legal Dilemmas on the Human Body in Research.
In 2013 the project on bio-archeological heritage came to its end. The results were discussed at a conference and in the CEU summer university program (SUN) entitled: “Reading Old Bodies: New Directions in the Bio-Archaeological Heritage.” The closing conference was held on July 5–6, 2013 with the title: “The Bodies of our Ancestors: Ancient Human Remains and the Past in the Future.”
Duration of the project: 2011–2013
CELAB participants in the project: Judit Sándor and Enikő Demény