Lecture: The International Law of Biotechnology, Bonn

Lecture in the Forum Series “Law as Culture” with Prof. Dr. DDr. h.c. Matthias Herdegen:

The International Law of Biotechnol-ogy: Personhood and Human Rights, Risk Management and International Trade”

Matthias Herdegen is Director of the Institute of Public Law and Director at the Institute of Public International Law of the University of Bonn. Since October 2017 he is again Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center “Law as Culture”.

The Lecture

Debates on in vitro fertilization, cloning, stem cell research, gene therapy, or transgenic crops highlight conflicting normative concepts on the one hand and societal perceptions on the other hand. Human dignity, referring to an individual person or to mankind at large, forms a basis for legal and ethical standards. Accordingly, human rights, individual autonomy as well as traditional concepts of personhood and family life influence regulatory models in the field of biomedicine. However, in international trade and environmental law, commercial interests, various prevention models, and scientific risk assessments compete and often conflict with socio-cultural considerations, especially in highly risk-averse societies. Through patents, societal access to genetic resources in the form of encoded information and transgenic organisms may likewise be barred. In his lecture, Matthias Herdegen will examine these complex points and subsequently address human rights treaties as well as free trade regimes, which have become the battleground for political choices in heterogeneous societies and for different governmental regulatory approaches. The current discussion is driven by conflicting claims to ‘rationality’ and the difficult quest for value judgments based on an international consensus.

Date: 23.01.2018

Place: Max Weber lecture room of the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study in the Humanities “Law as Culture”

A reception will follow.

For further information, please visit the event page.


About the “Forum Law as Culture”

The “Forum Law as Culture” offers a space for interdisciplinary and intercultural exchange with international guests and fellows at the Center. The Forum regards itself as a place where the Center’s focal topics can be critically examined. Such topics, which consider the dimensions of law as a cultural fact, include symbolic cultures, ritual dynamics, normativity and normative pluralism, and issues of the force of law and of organizational culture.

Future Forum events can be found here.