Courses: Race, Science, and Understandings of Human Aptitude (ANTHH312B01)

Spring 2009

Over the last two centuries, Western scientific ideas about race & human aptitude have intersected over and over again. From early 19th C biological ideas about human differences through 20th C eugenics movements in the U.S. and Europe, scientists and state authorities commonly invoked race and intelligence as deeply interconnected. The Bell Curve reasserted these problematic connections very recently, and genomic sciences today, intentionally or not, pose new utility of these linkages. We will read widely in both primary and secondary literature to see how notions of race and human aptitude have historically reinforced one another, and the nature of effective challenges to these concepts. Primary sources will range from Samuel Morton's notorious 19th C skull collection through recent corporate rhetoric on diversity in science & engineering, from the writings of Franz Boas to the emerging research claims of ethnogerontology.

Fulfills: SO I


Anthropology (Web site)

Taught By

Amy Slaton (Profile)

Meeting Times

Th 1:30-4:00