Teaching Race: Scientists on Human Difference

Ann Morning

in The Nature of Race

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780520270305
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950146 | DOI:
Teaching Race: Scientists on Human Difference

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Academic science is a vital research site for any investigation of racial conceptualization because the ideas of biological and social scientist are central to what is considered expert, authoritative knowledge of racial difference. Scientists' ideas of race have the potential to be extremely influential, and so this chapter investigates just what those ideas are. Anti-essentialist discourse is distinguished by the use of biological evidence to demonstrate that race groupings do not reflect patterns of human biological variation, countering essentialist claims to the contrary. Anti-essentialist scientists offered several explanations for why racial genetic distinctiveness had not emerged among human beings. Some faculty interviewees implied that intermixture between human populations had precluded the genetic isolation necessary for the development of distinct races, or that more recent interbreeding had erased racial distinctions that might have existed in the past referring to the evolutionary model of isolated groups whose gene pools develop over time in particular directions.

Keywords: anti-essentialist scientists; genetic isolation; gene pools; biological variation; interbreeding

Chapter.  13302 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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