In today’s episode, we travel to East Africa with Dr. Melissa Graboyes, a historian of medicine. Melissa talks with us about medical experimentation in East Africa during the colonial period, race-based health inequality in those parts of the world today, and how it was that prisoners in Zanzibar subverted racial categories through food!
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Some resources for this episode:
In this episode we begin the very long story of the pseudo-scientific conflation of race and intelligence over the last several hundred years. Much more to come on this topic in future podcasts.
A couple of views on Elizabeth Warren's DNA ancestry:
In this episode, we restart our march through history, which we left off a few episodes ago back in the 18th century. With our guest, Dr. Hilary Green, we dive into 19th-century American slavery and the idea that black and brown bodies are “closer to nature” than light-skinned bodies. Dr. Green talks about racism, popular ideas of biology, and how our denial of black suffering still resonates today in racial health disparities.
In this episode, we continue our mini-series on global race. This time we travel with historian Teresa Cribelli to 19th-century Brazil, where she and Jo banter about slavery, colorism, and how Brazil came to be seen as a nation that embraces racial mixing despite the fact that it subscribed to a national strategy of “whitening” its population. No peacocks this time, but we do talk about Linnaeus!
Here are some resources for this episode:
A brief break to take stock of the past, project the future, and say hi to Jo in her new home.
Jo's in India!...So we're taking the podcast to India, too. In part one of this two-part series, we explore how the Indian caste system served as a central proving ground for emerging racial theories in Europe and Asia during British colonialism in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Here’s what we do for fun off script. Jo and Erik debate about how we can describe—in discrete steps—the process leading to the emergence of racial science in the 18th century. All you need to know about the development of racial science and how pathetic we are in 5 minutes! GO!
In this episode, we think we’ve finally found the main culprit: Immanuel Kant! We also discuss two scientists that get a lot of undeserved blame for scientific racism: Johann Friedrich Blumenbach and Petrus Camper.
In this episode we discuss two of the heavy lifters from the enlightenment when it comes to spreading a scientific concept of race: Buffon and Linnaeus.
Here are some resources for this topic:
In this episode we discuss how ideas about human differences evolved in Europe during the 1600s. From Noah's Curse to the Lost Tribes of Israel, to pre-Adamism, to race--this was a dynamic time in the history of race.
A "seismic" op-ed in the New York Times! Well known podcast host throwing down on another well known podcast host! A discredited race scientist from the 1980s-90s seemingly justified by a Harvard geneticist in 2018! What's going on here?
In our first ever "Flash" episode — and our first episode attempted (foolishly) without captain-of-the-ship Jim Bindon — Jo and Erik attempt to wade into a thicket and emerge with only a minimum of scratches. Can they do it? On a related note: can either of them actually sing: "Flash Gordon" by Queen?
Sam Harris, Charles Murray, and the Allure of Race Science (Ezra Klein, Vox)
Waking Up podcast #73: Forbidden Knowledge (Sam Harris)
How Genetics is Changing Our Understanding of 'Race' (David Reich, NYT)
How Not To Talk About Race and Genetics (67 scientists, Buzzfeed)
In our last episode, we showed that pre-Columbian ideas about human differences weren't consistent with what we think of today as race. In this episode we try to answer the question of how race got culturally constructed after Columbus. We talk to Professor Rob Schwaller of the Department of History at the University of Kansas who tells us how notions of difference in 16th century colonial Mexico led to legal decisions by the Spanish crown that resulted in a process of racialization of difference. He describes a complex and messy process between indigenous peoples, Africans, and Spanish that played an important role in the development of scientific ideas about race.
Here are some resources for this topic:
In this episode we go back to the beginning to kick off the history of race and science. First to ancient Egypt that played such a large role in the development of 19th century ideas on race, then on to ancient Greece and Biblical traditions to try to get a picture of what some of the ancients might have contributed to the race concept.
Here are some resources for this topic:
This episode, in honor of Black History Month, we interviewed Malcolm Byrnes about E.E. Just, a pioneering African American Biologist, and Joseph Graves about his own experience as an African American Evolutionary Biologist.
Some resources for these interviews:
In this episode we address another issue that students come into class with when we try to teach about the cultural construction of race: the biological reinforcement of race that comes from commercials run by DNA ancestry companies that promise to tell you whether you should be wearing lederhosen or kilts.
Methods of ancestry estimation:
In this episode we discuss some of the myths about race and athletics and try to shed a little light on the subject. Here are some sources that can help with this discussion:
In this episode we talk about teaching race at the University of Alabama and Bill Dressler discusses his biocultural racial research collaboration with Jim. Oh, and we also celebrate Jim’s 70th birthday!
The “1991” study (actually done in 1985, published in 1989) of the acceptance of biological race by anthropologists that Jo referenced and Jim misremembered (30-40% was actually 50% physical anthropologists agree with the statement that “There are biological races within the species Homo sapiens”): Lieberman, Leonard, Blaine W. Stevenson, and Larry T. Reynolds. "Race and anthropology: A core concept without consensus." Anthropology & Education Quarterly 20, no. 2 (1989): 67-73. A follow-up done in 1999 (24% physical anthropologists agreed): Lieberman, Leonard, Rodney C. Kirk, and Alice Littlefield. "Perishing Paradigm: Race—1931–99."American Anthropologist 105, no. 1 (2003): 110-113. A 2016 Survey that found 85+% of all anthropologists disagree with biological race (no comparable result to the earlier surveys because different questions were used and the results are not broken out by subdiscipline): Wagner, Jennifer K., Joon‐Ho Yu, Jayne O. Ifekwunigwe, Tanya M. Harrell, Michael J. Bamshad, and Charmaine D. Royal. "Anthropologists' views on race, ancestry, and genetics." American Journal of Physical Anthropology 162, no. 2 (2017): 318-327. Our survey from 2016 that Jo mentioned found 4% physical anthropologists agree with the same statement used in the earlier studies.
A good look at the biocultural research discussed by Bill Dressler: Dressler, William W., and James R. Bindon. "The health consequences of cultural consonance: Cultural dimensions of lifestyle, social support, and arterial blood pressure in an African American community." American anthropologist 102, no. 2 (2000): 244-260.
The first episode of this series, which tells about Jim’s involvement with race: http://speakingofrace.ua.edu/podcast/how-i-came-to-study-race-by-jim-bindon. The book on race, class, and intelligence that played a part in Jim creating the UA race course in anthropology: Herrnstein, R. and C. A. Murray. The Bell curve: Intelligence and class structure in American life. New York: Free Press, 1994. Here is a link to the syllabus for the last time (fall 2015) that Jim taught the race course. Powerpoints are available for all of the topics, just email Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org: http://jbindon.people.ua.edu/uploads/1/0/7/1/107177609/syllabus.pdf
In this episode we talk about the interaction of the Human Genome Project with the concept of race and try to explain why this rapidly switched from debunking the biological nature of race to reinforcing the biological nature of race. As an example of how things went wrong, we talk about the “warrior gene” and super predators. Here are some links that go with this episode:
In this side B, cut from the last episode, we talk about 20th and 21st century discussions of Morton’s work focusing on the critique by Stephen Jay Gould. As you can hear, we have continuing confusion about this, just as many folks less well versed in the study of race.
Here are some of the relevant citations and links:
In this episode we go back into the 19th century to talk about the dispute between scientists who thought that all humans came from the same origin (monogenists) and those who were convinced that each race had a separate origin (polygenists). The latter group appear to still have an influence on racial attitudes in the U.S. pushing notions of difference rather than similarity between the races. We see this today especially in ideas about race and athleticism. We focus on Samuel George Morton, Josiah Clark Nott, George Gliddon, and Louis Agassiz.
Here are some links that expand on this episode:
We attempt to set the background for the scientific consensus that grew in the 1960s and 70s that race is a cultural construction, not a biological fact. Since anthropology is the discipline most intimately entwined with race and biological anthropology is the part of the discipline that has the greatest history with race, this discusses some of the key players in driving the cultural consensus and some opposing it. There was a memorable moment at a meeting in 1966 when Paul Baker, physical anthropologist and mentor to Jim Bindon, was presenting a paper about using race as research tool and Margaret Mead, cultural anthropologist, was pounding her "house post" and shouting disagreement which is used to illustrate some of the confusion about race at the time. Definitions of race by Jonathan Marks and Audrey Smedley are featured.