East Hill Notes: On Racism and the New Racial Science

By: Phil Nicklin,  Tompkins Weekly
October 23, 2017

Last year, the Institute for the Social Sciences at Cornell University launched the ISS Annual Lecture series to bring an eminent scholar to Ithaca to speak on a pressing social issue. Each year the ISS co-sponsors the lecture with different social science units on campus in order to build bridges across diverse communities.

This year, ISS is pleased to announce that Professor Dorothy Roberts – an acclaimed scholar of race, gender and law at the University of Pennsylvania – will be the speaker for the 2017 ISS Annual Lecture. The Cornell Law School and the Africana Studies and Research Center will cosponsor this lecture.

Roberts’ lecture, “Racism and The New Racial Science,” is free and open to the public. It will take place at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 15, in the Rhodes-Rawlings Auditorium of Klarman Hall (KG70). A book signing and reception will follow the lecture in Klarman Hall’s Groos Atrium.

In her lecture, Roberts will examine the renewed interest in the myth of biological concepts of race in the genomic era. We see this resurgence as old racial types are given modern currency in science related to sequencing the human genome and as biotech and pharmaceutical companies produce and market race-specific drugs.
This is also evident in online DNA-testing products that provide information about not only genetic ancestry, but also racial identities.

One impact of this trend is that as biological and social scientists collaborate, they attempt to explain societal outcomes through the examination of genetic traits. Even researchers who study the impact of social inequality on biological outcomes have tended to explain racial disadvantages in biological terms.

The article originally appeared in the: Tompkins Weekly

 Professor Dorothy Roberts