Science, Technology and Race
The purpose of this class is to explore the many ways in which
"race" is embedded in the language and practice of science
and technology in the world. You will be reading texts written
from a variety of disciplinary perspectives and learning to find
and evaluate information on race, science and technology.
Reading requirements: between 60 and 120 pages/week. Reading
and Class participation count for 35% of your grade.
This class involves three assignments:
First, you will use the library or on-line resources to find recent
study data on race or racism in the world. This could be from
the CDC, NIH, NSF, Census Bureau, API, UN, etc. Your task is
to find it, collect contextual information on it, evaluate its
significance and write it up. (10%).
Second, in groups of 2-4 you will read one of the Special Topics
books, discuss it in terms of your own insights and critique it
using the readings. (25%).
Your third assignment is to pick an information source (New
York Times, Forbes, a Gopher site, UN Reports, Chemical Industry
News, ACT/UP) and examine it from at least five standpoints, attending
to who produces, it, who it is for, and who are affected by it.
- Sandra Harding, ed. (1993) The "Racial" Economy
of Science: Toward A Democratic Future. Bloomington: Indiana
- Thomas A. Bass (1990) Camping with the Prince and Other
Tales of Science in Africa Boston: Houghton Mifflin.
- Dawn Gill and Les Levidow, ed. (1987). Anti-Racist Science
Teaching. London: Free Association Books.
Week 1: What is "Race"?
- Michael Omi & Howard Winant. (1994) "Paradigms of
Race" in Racial formation in the United States: from the
1960s to the 1990s. New York: Routledge.
- Stephen Jay Gould, "American Polygeny and Craniotomy
before Darwin" in Harding, p.84-115.
- Gloria Marshall, "Racial Classifications: Popular and
Scientific" in Harding, p.116-127.
- S. L. Washburn, "The Study of Race" in Harding,
- Frank B. Livingstone, "On the Nonexistence of Human Races"
in Harding, p.132-141.
- Nancy Leys Stepan and Sander L. Gilman, "Appropriating
the Idioms of Science: The Rejection of Scientific Racism"
in Harding, p.170-199.
Week 2: IQ - Who is normal and who deviates?
- Richard J. Herrnstein and Charles Murray, (1994) The Bell
Curve: Intelligence and Class Structure in American Life. (selections).
- Responses to Bell Curve (WSJ, Post, NYT, Forbes, New Republic,
- Troy Duster, (1990) Backdoor to Eugenics, New York: Routledge.
- Gerd Gergenezer, (1987) "History of Statistics and IQ"
in The Probabilistic Revolution. ed. Lorenz Kruger, Gerd Gigerenzer,
and Mary S. Morgan. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Week 3: The Neutrality of Science and Technology
- Langdon Winner, (1977). Autonomous Technology: Technics Out
of Control as a Theme in Political Thought. Cambridge: MIT Press.
- Donna Haraway. (1988). "Situated Knowledges: The Science
Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective."
Feminist Studies 14.3:
- Harding, Sandra. (1991). "'Strong Objectivity' and Socially
Situated Knowledge." in Whose Science? Whose Knowledge?
Ithaca: Cornell University Press. 138-163.
- Sandra Harding, "Introduction: Eurocentric Scientific
Illiteracy," in Harding,
- National Academy of Sciences, "Methods and Values in
Science" in Harding, p.341-343.
- Nancy Leys Stepan, "Race and Gender: The Role of Analogy
in Science" in Harding, p.359-376.
- Sharon Traweek, "Cultural Differences in High-Energy
Physics" in Harding, p.398-407.
Week 4: Environmentalism and Third-World Politics
- Calestous Juma, chapters 1 and 2 from The Gene Hunters
(Princeton Univ Press)
- Vandana Shiva, "Colonialism and the Evolution of Masculinist
Forestry" in Harding, p.303-314.
- Richard Levins and Richard Lewontin, "Applied Biology
in the Third World: The Struggle for Revolutionary Science,"
in Harding, p. 315-325.
- Karl Grossman, "Environmental Racism," in Harding,
- Third World Network, "Modern Science in Crisis: A Third
World Response," in Harding, p.484-517.
Week 5: Who gets to do Science?
- Cynthia Cockburn, "Technology and Caring: New Developments
in Medical X-ray," from Machinery of Dominance
- Diana Forsythe, "Disappearing Women: (De)Constructing
Gender in the High Technology Workplace" manuscript.
- Ronald T. Takaki, "Aesculapius was a White Man"
in Harding, p.201-209.
- Kenneth R. Manning, "Ernest Everett Just: The Role of
Foundation Support for Black Scientists 1920-1929," in Harding
- Aimee Sands, "Never Meant to Survive: A Black Woman's
Journey," in Harding p.239-248.
- Shirley Malcolm, "Increasing the Participation of Black
Women in Science and Technology," in Harding p.249-253.
- Eileen M. O'Brien, "Without More Minorities...U.S. Scientific
Failure Certain" in Harding p.254-259.
- Susantha Goonatilake, "Modern Science and the Periphery:
The Characteristics of Dependent Knowledge" in Harding p.259-274.
Week 6: Science in Africa
- Calestous Juma, "Germplasm and Kenya's Agriculture: A
Case Study" in The Gene Hunters.
- Thomas Bass, Camping with the Prince.
- Annamarie Mol and John Law, (1994) Regions, Networks And
Fluids - Anaemia And Social Topology. Social Studies of Science
Week 7: The Science of Man: Anthropology and Colonialism
- Ong, Aihwa. (1994). "Making the Biopolitical Subject:
Cambodian Immigrants, Refugee Medicine and Cultural Citizenship
in California." Social Science and Medicine. 1-15.
- Edward W. Said,(1989). "Representing the Colonized: Anthropology's
Interlocutors." Critical Inquiry 15.2: p.205-225.
- Michael Taussig, (1992) "Violence and Resistance in the
Americas: The Legacy of Conquest" in The Nervous System.
- Jack Stauder, "The 'Relevance' of Anthropology to Colonialism
and Imperialism" in Harding p.408-432.
Week 8: Culture, Rationality and Relativism
- Martin Hollis and Steven Lukes, eds. (1982) Rationality
and relativism. Oxford: Blackwell. (selections).
- Claude Levi-Strauss, (1966) The Savage Mind. Chicago:
University of Chicago. Ch. 6 & 7. "Universalization
and Particularization", "The Individualist Species."
Week 9: Medicine, Gender and Race
- Shohat, Ella. (1992). "'Laser for Ladies': Endo Discourse
and the Inscription of Science." Camera Obscura
- Fanon, Franz. (1988). A Dying Colonialism. New York:
Grove Press. (selections)
- Phillipa Bunkle, "Calling the Shots? The International
Politics of Depo-Provera" in Harding, p.287-302.
- James Jones, "The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment: 'A Moral
Astigmatism'" in Harding p.275-286.
Week 10: Anti-Racist Science Teaching: Putting it all together
- Dawn Gill and Les Levidow, (1987) Anti-Racist Science Teaching,
London: Free Association Press.
- Syllabi on Race, Racism and Science by Nancy Lee Stepans,
Anne Fausto-Sterling, Joan Fujimura.
Possible Special Topics
- ACT UP/New York Women and AIDS Book Group (1990) Women,
AIDS, and Activism Boston, South End Press.
- Virginia Dominguez. (1986). White by Definition: Social
Classification In Creole Louisiana. New Brunswick, N.J.:
Rutgers University Press.
- Aihwa Ong. (1987). Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist
Discipline: Factory Women in Malaysia. SUNY series in the
anthropology of work. Albany: State University of New York Press.
- Edward Said. (1978). Orientalism. New York: Vintage
- Michael Taussig. (1987). Shamanism, Colonialism and the
Wild Man: A Study in Terror and Healing. Chicago: University
of Chicago Press.
- Howard Zinn (1984) The Twentieth Century, A People's History.
Harper New York: Harper & Row, .
- Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (1990) The Post-Colonial Critic:
Interviews, Strategies, Dialogues. New York: Routledge.