CONNECTIVE TISSUES: ETHICAL GUIDELINES FOR BIOHISTORICAL RESEARCH
ABSTRACT—A wide range of academic, commercial, and private investigators are seeking access to historical human biological materials from cultural collections and historical sites for biomolecular research. Bioanalysis of historical bone, hair, blood-stained artifacts, and other trace evidence has raised profound historical, scientific, and social questions. Professional guidelines, state laws, and federal regulations vary in their applicability to these debates, and custodians of cultural collections face considerable difficulties when evaluating requests for bioanalysis of their holdings. The Chicago Historical Society (CHS) and the Institute for Science, Law, and Technology (ISLAT) at the Illinois Institute of Technology have initiated a multiyear project to develop ethical guidelines for biohistorical research. Funded by the National Science Foundation, the project is intended to generate an interdisciplinary and intercultural dialogue among museum professionals, academic specialists, and legal experts. An evaluation of historical, scientific, and social concerns raised by recent studies has generated preliminary suggestions for evaluating biohistorical research proposals; ethical guidelines will be published at a later date. CHS and ISLAT are soliciting case studies as well as commentary as they develop the guidelines.
2. HISTORICAL CONCERNS
3. SCIENTIFIC CONCERNS
4. SOCIAL CONCERNS
5. EVALUATING BIOHISTORICAL RESEARCH PROPOSALS
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