DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.

The International Workshop on Lysenkoism was held December 4-5, 2009, at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York and the International Affairs Building at Columbia University. The International Working Group on Lysenkoism was formed at the workshop, and meeting has already produced two important projects: 1. A special issue of the Journal of the History of Biology, 2. Plans for a follow-up at the University of Vienna in May/June 2012.


The conference flier can be downloaded here:


Lysenkoism 11x17 flyer.pdf


The conference program can be downloaded here:







The International Workshop on Lysenkoism

December 4-5, 2009

CUNY Graduate Center 

Harriman Institute, Columbia University



Friday, December 4, 2009

CUNY Graduate center, 365 Fifth Ave., Room 9204/9205




9:30-10:00—Welcome, Introductory remarks CUNY Vice Chancellor for Research, Gillian Small


(Panel 1) Lysenko and Agriculture (1.45) 10:00-11:45


Chair: Deborah Coen, Barnard College


Jenny Leigh Smith, Georgia Institute of Technology

“Lysenko’s Legacy: Ignorance, Bliss, and the Persistence of Proletarian Science”


Stephen Brain, Mississippi State University

“Lysenko and the Transformation of Nature”


Alexei Kouprianov, State University Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg 

“Networking Potato Vernalisation: Understanding the Modes of the ‘Unity of Theory and Practice’ in the Soviet Agricultural Science of the 1930s”



15 minute break


(Panel 2) The Reaction in the United States (1.20) 12:00-1:20


Chair: Chris Robinson, Bronx Community College, CUNY


Michael Gordin, Princeton University

“How Lysenkoism Became Pseudoscience: Dobzhansky to Velikovsky”

Rena Selya, Independent Scholar

“Defending Scientific Freedom and Democracy: The Genetics Society of America’s Response to Lysenko”



Lunch 1:30-2:30




(Panel 3) The New Biology in Central Europe (1.45) 2:30-4:15


Chair: Frances Bernstein, Drew University


Miklos Muller, Rockefeller University

“Lysenkoism in Hungary”


Michael Simunek, Charles University

“Lysenkoism in Czechoslovakia”


William deJong-Lambert, Bronx Community College, CUNY; affiliate faculty, Harriman Institute

“Lysenkoism in Poland”



Coffee Break 4:15-4:30



(Panel 4) Lysenko, Stalinism and Lamarckism (1.45) 4:30-6:15


Chair: Daniel Kevles, Yale University


Jonathan Brent, YIVO Institute for Jewish Research

“Lysenko and the Plot Against the Jewish Doctors”


Eduard Israelovich Kolchinsky, Director of St. Petersburg Branch of the S.I. Vavilov Institute for the History of Science and Technology, the Russian Academy of Sciences

“The cultural revolution in the USSR (1929-1932) and the beginning of the union of Prezent and Lysenko”


Nils Roll-Hansen, University of Oslo

“Lamarckism and Lysenkoism Revisited”


Banquet Dinner

Bello Sguardo






Saturday, December 5, 2009

Columbia University, International Affairs Building, Room 1501




9:00-9:30—Welcome, Introductory remarks Harriman Institute Director Timothy Frye



(Panel 1) Lysenko and Genetics (1.20) 9:30-10:50


Chair: Catharine Nepomnyashchy, Barnard College; Harriman Institute


Audra Jayne Wolfe, University of Pennsylvania

“Commemoration as Political Weapon, Or, Why We Think of Mendel as the Father of Genetics”


Luis Campos, Drew University

“Dialectics Denied: Muller, Lysenko, and the Fate of Chromosome Studies in Soviet Genetics”


10 minute break


(Panel 2) Western Europe (1.15) 11:00-12:15


Chair: Bruno J. Strasser, Yale University


Francesco Cassata, University of Turin

“The Price of Obedience: Italian Marxist Biologists Front of PCI’s Lysenkoism (1948-1953)”


Leo Molenaar, Stichting Huis van Erasmus  

“Dutch Treat: The Reaction to Lysenkoism in Holland”


Lunch 12:15-1:15


(Panel 3) Germany (1.15) 1:15-2:30


Chair: Philipp Rothmaler, Bronx Community College, CUNY


Alexander von Schwerin, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

“Lysenkoism and the Reform of Postwar West German Genetics”


Ekkehard Höxtermann, Free University of Berlin

“Lysenkoism in East Germany”


15 minute break


(Panel 4) Asia & Latin America (1.45) 2:45-4:30


Chair: Joe Dauben, Lehman College; The CUNY Graduate Center


Laurence Schneider, Washington University, St. Louis

“Lysenkoism in China 1950-1957: Party Authority vs. the Autonomy of Science”


Arturo ArguetaVillamar, Centro Regional de Investigaciones Multidisciplinarias, de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México &

Quetzal Argueta Prado, Instituto de Investigaciones
Históricas de la Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo

“Lysenko and Vavilov in Mexico and Latin America”


Hirofumi Saito, Tokyo Institute of Technology

“Geneticist Hitoshi Kihara and His Particular Role in the Period of Lysenkoism in Japan”


15 minute break


Concluding Discussion (4:45-6:30)


Elena Levina, Institute for the History of Science and Technology Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow


Nikolai Krementsov, University of Toronto


Loren Graham, Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Douglas Weiner, University of Arizona



Banquet Dinner







Special Thanks To


Bronx Community College, CUNY

The Graduate Center of the City University of New York

The Harriman Institute at Columbia University

The Research Foundation of the City University of New York


This workshop would not have been possible without the invaluable help and support of the former and current directors of the Harriman Institute, Catharine Nepomnyashchy and Timothy Frye, Harriman Institute Program Manager Alla Rachkov, and Columbia University Senior Public Affairs Officer Tanya Domi. I am also grateful to CUNY Vice Chancellor for Research, Gillian Small, and Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs at the CUNY Graduate Center, Brian Schwartz, Bronx Community College President Carolyn Williams and Senior Vice President George Sanchez, whose support was essential to the success of this project. Finally, I would like to thank Darren Byler for his wonderful design for the fliers, posters and programs, as well as Darrel Davis for a great job with the printing.


DRAFT: This module has unpublished changes.