lecnotes_03_18 - 21A.240 Race and Science Spring 2004 MIT...

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21A.240 Race and Science Spring 2004 MIT PART 1: THE ALCHEMY OF RACE: MAKING AND UNMAKING SCIENTIFIC RACISM Lecture 7. March 18 PAPER # 1 DUE From Population to Genome: Race after World War Two We’ll be talking about the evaporation of typological race categories in evolutionary and population biology and in anthropology after World War II — and particularly thinking about how this evaporation becomes manifest in the UNESCO statements about race which we’ve already heard so much about. We’ve already gotten glimpses of this move — in our readings of Kevles and Proctor – from seeing RACE as a typological category — enabling ranking and so forth — to seeing RACE as an illusory concept based on misapprehensions of the proper object of evolutionary inquiry: the POPULATION, characterized by shifting gene frequencies. The shift from POPULATION thinking to GENOMIC thinking. To summarize and anticipate: we want to look today at the shift from RACE to POPULATION to GENOME in scientific discourses about human biological unity and diversity. We’re also going to be concerned with continuities between these categories — and particularly with whether typological race categories actually do go away through these shifts. I think we’ll find that they don’t entirely. But I think we’ll also see some NEW WAYS in which RACE gets articulated. It’s useful to have the typology that Haraway provides us in mind as we go: RACE, POPULATION, GENOME (eugenics/population genetics/molecular genetics) Haraway, Donna. 1994. Universal Donors in a Vampire Culture, Or It’s All in the Family: Biological Kinship Categories in the Twentieth-Century United States. In Uncommon Ground: Toward Reinventing Nature. William Cronon, ed. New York: Norton, pp. 321-366. RACE on RACE as an organizing principle: we’ve really gone over this category and its various instantiations with a fine-toothed comb. And we’ve seen a bit of POPULATION thinking, too. But POPULATION is where I want to begin. The UNESCO statements are a good starting point. Look at Provine and Montagu to help us along: summarizing the shift from TYPOLOGICAL RACE thinking to POPULATION thinking: Montagu: “such differences as exist between different groups of mankind are due to the operation of evolutionary factors of differentiation such as
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isolation, the drift and random fixation of the material particles which control heredity (the genes), changes in the structure of these particles, hybridization and natural selection” “from the biological standpoint, the species Homo sapiens is made up of a number of populations, each one of which differs from the others in the frequency of one or more genes … a race from the biological standpoint, may therefore be defined as one of the group of populations constituting the species Homo sapiens “The term ‘race’ designates a group or population characterized by some
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lecnotes_03_18 - 21A.240 Race and Science Spring 2004 MIT...

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