Race and Science >> Content Detail



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Essay 1  (PDF)

1. Compare and contrast the place of sex, gender, and reproduction in the ideas of two eugenic thinkers discussed by Kevles. Integrate a brief discussion of sex and gender in Darwin.

2. Discuss similarities and differences between Blumenbach, Boas, and Gould using Omi and Winant's notion of "racial formation."

3. Compare and contrast notions of racial hygiene in Brazilian and Nazi/German eugenics. Be sure to discuss the place of the "nation" in each case.

4. Use Bowker and Star's ideas about Aristotelian and prototypical classification to examine how scientific and legal ideas about race interact in debates about immigration and naturalization in the United States as discussed by Jacobson.

Essay 2  (PDF)

1. Read Donna Haraway's "Universal Donors in a Vampire Culture." Use her section "III: Genome," to discuss and contextualize the cases discussed in Troy Duster's and Michael Montoya's articles.

2. If you did not for the first paper write about Brazilian eugenics, consider this topic: Read Nayan Shah's "Public Health and the Mapping of Chinatown." Compare notions of "health" and "race" in this chapter with both Nancy Stepan's analysis of Brazilian eugenics as well as James Jones' chapter in The "Racial" Economy of Science on "The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment."

3. Use Nancy Stepan and Sander Gilman's "Appropriating the Idioms of Science: The Rejection of Scientific Racism" to discuss the following other two articles from Harding's "Racial" Economy of Science:

Amazon logo Hine, Darlene Clark. "Co-Laborers in the Work of the Lord: Nineteenth Century Black Women Physicians." In The "Racial" Economy of Science: Toward a Democratic Future. Edited by Sandra Harding. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993. pp. 210-227. ISBN: 9780253326935.

Amazon logo Kreiger, Nancy, and Mary Bassett. "The Health of Black Folk: Disease, Class, and Ideology in Science." In The "Racial" Economy of Science: Toward a Democratic Future. Edited by Sandra Harding. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1993. pp. 161-169. ISBN: 9780253326935.

Conclude with reflections on Troy Duster's arguments about new medical uses of "race" in the age of genomics and briefly discuss how these might be approached in ways sensitive to the fraught politics of race.

4. Drawing on the writings of Londa Schiebinger and Terry Kapsalis, historicize Donna Haraway's discussion in "Apes in Eden, Apes in Space: Mothering as a Scientist for National Geographic" on the role of "whiteness" in fashioning scientific portraits of non-human primates like apes.

Essay 3  (PDF)

1. Puzzle through the "racial economy" of nuclear weapons work and testing using both  
a. Churchill and LaDuke's notion of "radioactive colonialism" in Native America
b. The analysis of damaging stereotypes of Asian Americans in the nuclear complex outlined in Wong's "The Los Alamos Incident" and Masco's "Lie Detectors: On Secrets and Hypersecurity in Los Alamos."

2. Drawing on Takaki's "The Myth of the Model Minority" and Englash's "Race, Sex, and Nerds: From Black Geeks to Asian American Hipsters," examine the politics of racial (and gender) stereotyping in connection with science education in the United States. If you think it relevant, draw on your own sense of such dynamics at MIT.

3. Using Gomez-Peña's "Ethno-cyborgs and Genetically Engineered Mexicans" as an inspiration, suggest ways that Kumar's "Temporary Access: The Indian H-1B Worker in the United States" could be transformed into an artistically rendered political statement about the politics of South Asian immigrant workers in the United States.

4. Mix and match any of the above, or, using materials from the second part of our course, "Reformulating Race: Making and Remaking the Idioms of Science," develop your own topic.


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