Karina Smigla-Bobinski
Artist in Residence

Dialog between art and science

ZiF Center for Interdisciplinary Research
Bielefeld University's Institute for Advanced Study

Octobre 2015 - Mai 2016

ZiF Artists in Residence

Accordingly to its interdisciplinary orientation, the ZiF also promotes the dialog between art and science.

Here we do not rely on direct compatibility and peaceful co-existence between art and sciences, we rather expect individualism, resistance and dissent. In this sense, art exhibitions and performances are a substantial part of our work which is essentially curated by the artists, curators and scholars of our Art Committee.

At the suggestion of the Art Committee, the ZiF occasionally invites artists to stay at the ZiF for a period of three months. These Artists in Residence generally cooperate with the ZiF Research Group and may initiate their own discourses.

The ZiF

"[...] systematic and regular discussion, colloquia, critique, and agreement in a group of scientists interested in the same topics, although perhaps from different perspectives, are of the greatest benefit for a scholar and his work". (
Helmut Schelsky, 1964)

The ZiF - Bielefeld University's Institute for Advanced Study - supports and funds outstanding and innovative interdisciplinary research projects. Founded in 1968 as Germany's first institution of its kind, the ZiF became a model for numerous Institutes for Advanced Study throughout Europe.

Open to any research topic, the ZiF welcomes scholars from all academic disciplines and countries. It offers the opportunity to realize interdisciplinary academic projects with international colleagues by means of providing residential fellowships, grants, and conference services.

Founding father of the ZiF, Helmut Schelsky, believed that interdisciplinary exchange is a central drive for scientific progress. The ZiF looks back to more than 40 years of experience in interdisciplinary research supporting this view. The history of the ZiF shows that interdisciplinary exchange opens up new approaches to a shared subject and can even initiate new fields of research. Therefore the ZiF does not invite individual researchers but entire research groups to work on interdisciplinary projects. It perceives interdisciplinarity as a process which has to be developed and realized by each research group anew. The ZiF hereby seeks to meet the growing differentiation within the disciplines as well as the 'great interdisciplinarity,' the encounter between science and humanities. The ZiF's mission is to encourage, mediate and host high level interdisciplinary exchange.

ZiF Research Groups 2015/2016

The Ethics of Copying

Copying has always been a widespread human practice. It is crucial in many ways for the cultural development of any society as well as for economic success, and it supports democratization processes by providing access to important cultural goods and information.

But it is often controversial, in which cases and to what degree it might or might not be legitimate to copy an artefact or certain aspects of somebody's physical appearance, or imitate patterns of someone's behaviour, and who should be entitled to raise normative claims that restrict other people's copying activities. Beliefs about the legitimacy and moral permissibility of various types of copying processes, individual acts of copying and ways of handling copies differ profoundly across different cultures, and they are subject to historical changes - due to technological developments as well as religious, political and economic factors.

In modern societies, the most important medium for normatively restricting copying processes is the law - not only copyright law, but also patent and trademark law and laws regulating unfair competition, among others. However, there seems to be a growing discrepancy between the existing legal situation and common morality. Major parts of the existing intellectual property law are not regarded as normatively appropriate by a growing number of people. This discrepancy tends to become even greater given the current shift from owning and copying physical things to merely having access to electronic data.

So far, there is no ethics of copying that could present a just balance of interests for those affected by copying practices. The overarching aim of this research group, a collaboration between legal scholars, philosophers and scholars from art history, art sciences, book studies, comparative literature, German literature, media studies, popular music and sociology, is to develop proposals concerning such a balance which might influence future legislation and facilitate the formation of inter-subjective moral standards for distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate forms of copying.

In order to develop the foundations of an ethics of copying, the group will work on questions like: What kinds of copies should be allowed to be produced by whom and for which purposes? Which forms of copying activities should be restricted from a moral point of view? And how can different interests with regard to property rights and copying permissions be weighed against each other?

Reinold Schmücker (Münster, GER), Thomas Dreier (Karlsruhe, GER), Pavel Zahradka (Olomouc, CZE)

Amrei Bahr (Münster, GER)
Lionel Bently (Cambridge, GBR)
Massimiliano Carrara (Padua, ITA)
Charles M. Ess (Oslo, NOR)
Annette Gilbert (Berlin, GER)
Johannes Grave (Bielefeld, GER)
Darren H. Hick (Lubbock, USA)
Wybo Houkes (Eindhoven, NED)
Alexander Peukert (Frankfurt am Main, GER)
Antonia Putzger (Berlin, GER)
Maria E. Reicher-Marek (Aachen, GER)
Aram Sinnreich (New Brunswick, USA)

Associate Members
Eric Achermann (Münster, GER)
Hans Nieswandt (Bochum, GER)
Grischka Petri (Bonn, GER)

Genetic and Social Causes of Life Chances

How do genetic and environmental factors influence the societal position and social mobility of individuals? Which mediating processes are relevant for the realization of such life chances? What are advantages and disadvantages of modern research strategies such as the examination of single alleles, genome-wide association studies or extended twin family designs? Can the advantages of these designs be combined? How could historical or cross-cultural comparisons contribute to our understanding of the interplay between nature and nurture? Do we have to reconsider our notion of social justice in the face of genetic influences on life chances? These and other questions can obviously only be answered by an interdisciplinary team and will be the focus of our research group.

Recent research strongly suggests that the genetic influences on social inequality, social mobility, and social integration are as substantial as those on personality and ability traits. The "blank slate" metaphor still guiding standard social scientific research in large parts should therefore be abandoned in favor of integrating genetic origin into the explanation of life chances. Omitting the genetic part of intergenerational transmission neglects an integral part of the explanation of life chances because genetic differences between individuals do not only add to environmental influences but also co-vary and interact with such social (environmental) influences in manifold ways. Consequently, the consideration of genetic influences by no means negates social influences on advantage or disadvantage.

Our research group brings together internationally leading experts from various disciplines (psychology, sociology, biology, genetics, medicine, economics, philosophy, and political sciences). Together, we study theoretical models and methodological approaches that can help understand influences and interactions of nature- and nurture-factors. A second focus of our group will be the psychological, biological, and societal processes mediating between genes and life chances. Finally, our group is concerned with ethical-normative and socio-political implications of research results in the area of genetic influences and their connection with societal conditions.

Martin Diewald (Bielefeld, GER), Rainer Riemann (Bielefeld, GER)

Rüdiger Bittner (University Bielefeld, GER)
Wiebke Bleidorn (University of California, Davis, USA)
Denis Bratko (University of Zagreb, HRV)
Chuansheng Chen (University of California, Irvine, USA)
Chris Dawes (New York University, USA)
Jeremy Freese (Northwestern University, USA)
Henry Harpending (University of Utah, USA)
Jutta Heckhausen (University of California, Irvine, USA)
Wendy Johnson (University of Edinburgh, GBR)
Markus Jokela (University of Helsinki, FIN)
Christian Kandler (University Bielefeld, GER)
Lars Penke (Georg-August-University Göttingen, GER)
Reinhard Schunck (University Bielefeld, GER)
Frank Spinath (University des Saarlandes, GER)
Moshe Szyf (McGill University, CAN)
Eric Turkheimer (University of Virginia, USA)
Joachim Wündisch (University Düsseldorf, GER)

Associate Members
Meike Bartels (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, NED)
Anders BjoÅNrklund (Stockholm University, SWE)
Avshalom Caspi (Duke University, USA)
Dalton Conley (New York University, USA)
Thomas DiPrete (Columbia University, USA)
Guang Guo (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, USA)
Robert Krueger (University of Minnesota, USA)
Robert Moyzis (University of California, Irvine, USA)
Roland Weierstall (University Konstanz, GER)

Opening Conference > 06 – 09 October 2015

The research group is going to start its work at the ZiF with an international conference ‘Towards an Ethics of Copying’. Leading scholars of copyright and intellectual property law will discuss approaches to an ethics of copying with philosophers and experts from the humanities and social sciences at the ZiF from October 6–9, 2015.
Several contributions will explore the need for an ethics of copying, review the range of conflicts concerning various types of copying activities and contested ways of dealing with copies and other derivatives and focus on the normative claims involved in such conflicts. Particular attention will be directed to the relationship between moral claims concerning copying practices and rights granted by positive law in various jurisdictions.
Further topics on the agenda include analyses of the ontology of the objects of conflicts about copying, particular conflicts concerning the use and reproduction of and access to important cultural properties as well as the role of copying practices in the arts and of copying as indispensable
in the production of art.
Opening Conference > 19–22 October 2015

Studies in behavioral genetics set out a while ago, promising to reveal the dynamics of human development by decrypting our genome. Despite considerable progress over the last years, it now becomes more and more apparent that the interplay between genetic predispositions and environmental influences across history, generations, and individual lifespan is far more complex than previously assumed. The collaboration of various scientific disciplines therefore is essential to answer some of the most urgent questions in this field of research.
At the same time, discussing genetic causes of human heterogeneity and inequality has become increasingly socially acceptable. However—sometimes because of bad intentions, sometimes because of lack of knowledge—, references to genetic causes quickly tend to become proof of the immutability of differences or a justification for prevailing inequality. It is therefore crucial to keep in mind that the influence of genetic predispositions for life chances is by no means deterministic, but virtually always societally shaped. Schemata for interpreting and evaluating genetic causes of social inequality in moral and socio-political discussions are, however, still lacking. Misunderstandings relating to the interplay of genetic and social causes of inequality hence loom large in the public discourse.
The opening conference brings together an international, multi-disciplinary team of leading experts to collect state-of-the-art theories and methods and to explore new ways of understanding the interplay of genetic and social causes of life chances. Collected in thematic sessions, the conference will cover various topics connected to social inequality.

Zentrum für interd isziplinäre Forschung
Center for Interdisciplinary Research
Bielefeld University
Methoden 1
33615 Bielefeld
Tel. + 49 (0) 521 106-2796

further information - www.smigla-bobinski.com or