Recent studies on human variation seem to confirm what we have known for several decades; the biological concept of race is a crude and inaccurate tool to represent human diversity. Yet, the technological revolution in DNA research during the last couple of decades has reinvigorated scientific interest in questions on human differences, past migrations, origins, and even disease susceptibility. Such research has received much public attention and has led several scientists and humanities scholars to warn against the emergence of a new kind of biological racism. This lecture will challenge us to rethink our preconceptions about human races in light of new scientific knowledge and criticism raised by the humanities and social sciences. While rejecting race as a valid biological category is important, we should simultaneously acknowledge its role as a social category. Thus, the lecture will also invite us to reflect on the different understandings of race in historical and contemporary societies and how such interpretations influence the presence of racial discourses outside the academia.
Ageliki Lefkaditou is a historian of science and museum curator with background in the biological sciences. Her research focuses on the history of racial science and human genetics, with special emphasis on the political potency of scholarly accounts of identiy and origins. She is currently involved in a collaborative research and exhibition project between the University of Oslo and the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology, which explores historical and contemporary accounts of human biological differences within diverse social and cultural contexts.
This event is co-sponsored by the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere (Yulee Fund), the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, the Center for Greek Studies, the Genetics Institute, the Florida Museum of Natural History and the Departments of Classics, Biology, History and Anthropology.
For more information, contact Betty Smocovitis (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Center for the Humanities
and the Public Sphere
College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
200 Walker Hall
P.O. Box 118030
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611