“Locating Black Racial Science”
The History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine (HPSM) lecture is hosted by the Department of Philosophy
Abstract: For much of the twentieth century, African American physicians, scientists, and activists embraced aspects of eugenics and racial science to make arguments for racial equality. They mobilized what I call black eugenics, which I define as a hereditarian approach to racial uplift that emphasized social reform, public health, and reproductive control as strategies of biological racial improvement. I argue that this engagement and embrace of eugenics was also undergirded by a long history of racial science that relied upon a commitment to beliefs in biological racial differences. African Americans invested in eugenics and racial science sought to disentangle ideas of biological race from racism by using the tools and practices of racial science. They hoped that with rigorous scientific study, they could understand the true nature of biological race and its relationship to their quest for equality. Understanding the true nature of biological race would also contribute to how they imagined the utility of eugenic interventions for improving the biological composition of the race.
Full schedule, History and Philosophy of Science & Medicine (HPSM)
For inquiries contact Sue McKinney.