Paper pub. date
January 2009
ISBN 9780870715761 (paperback)
6 x 9 inches, 256 pages. Map. Notes. Index.

Race and Science

Scientific Challenges to Racism in Modern America

Paul Farber and Hamilton Cravens

During the course of American history, scientific theories have been used to legitimate racial ideas that in turn have been important in creating and interpreting the law. Race and Science collects essays from leading voices in law, history, history of science, botany, and the social sciences, resulting in a rich and comprehensive multidisciplinary exploration of the roots of and the scientific challenges to racial essentialism.

The notion that someone’s racial identity and characteristics define everything of importance about them has become deeply embedded in American culture, society, and science. These essays illuminate the roots of this belief and present case studies that explore how and why natural and social scientists have challenged these racist views.

About the author

Paul Farber is OSU Distinguished Professor of History of Science Emeritus. He is the author of Finding Order in Nature: The Naturalist Tradition from Linnaeus to E. O. Wilson and The Temptations of Evolutionary Ethics.

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Hamilton Cravens is Professor of History at Iowa State University. His publications include nine books, notably The Triumph of Evolution: The Heredity-Evolution Controversy and the forthcoming Imagining the Good Society: The Social Sciences in the American Past and Present.

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Hamilton Cravens

"Slavery in the Election of 1800"
Edward J. Larson

"From Kin to Intruder: Cherokee Legal Attitudes toward People of African Descent in the Nineteenth Century"
Fay Yarbrough

"The Last Repatriationist: The Career of Earnest Sevier Cox"
John P. Jackson, Jr. and Andrew S. Winston

"Mongels and Hybrids: The Problem of 'Race' in the Botanical World"
Vassiliki Betty Smocovitis

"The Roman Campaign of '53-'55: The Dunn Family among a Jewish Community"
Melinda Gormley

"Changes in Scientific Opinion on Race Mixing: The Impact of the Modern Synthesis"
Paul Farber

"Race, IQ, and Politics in Twentieth Century America"
Hamilton Cravens

"Robert Coles and the Political Culture of the Second Reconstruction"
Ben Keppel

"Genomics, Genetic Identity, and the Refiguration of 'Race'"
Michael Kenny

"Which word, apart from race, could bring natural scientists, social scientists, legal scholars, and humanists together to debate everything from the historical origins of the concept to its future prospects in the light of genomics, from its function as a political ploy to its inspiration for legal minds in devising racial purity laws as well as legislating desegregation? This excellent interdisciplinary collection of essays illuminates race in all its facets and in fascinating case studies from the United States, Europe, and—the plant world."

—Werner Sollors, Professor of Literature and African and African American Studies, Harvard University

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