900 State Street
Salem, Oregon 97301
What accounts for human difference, and what does the biology of human variation tell us about race and the "life changes" of racial groups in contemporary society? This course examines the relationship between genes, geography, skin color and what we have come to understand as "race." It will focus upon patterns of human genetic variation and consider how the completion of the Human Genome Project and the increasing availability of genomic data have changes our understanding of human population genetics. It will also address the historical role of science in taking the socially-constructed concept of race and turning it into scientific "fact," and explore how this past history both shapes and constrains contemporary research in the biology of human diversity. The course will consider contemporary case studies in which race becomes--and is ascribed to--biology in ways that both reflect and contribute to dominant racial ideology. By bringing together the research about race from the natural and social sciences, the course seeks to understand how biological and social factors interact to shape racial reality and explores the political and social implications for scientific inquiry.