RaceSci
Syllabi
RaceSci

 

Rhetoric of Race and Science
American Cultures Requirement, Undergraduate Course
Rhetoric 180AC, SPring 1996
Professor David Stern, University of Califronia, Berkeley

Originally posted at 
http://www-learning.berkeley.edu/AC/archive/syllabi/RHET180AC.html


Description
This course explores how science has been used to establish
or undermine the authority of particular views about various
ethnic or racial groups in the United States, the role of
those groups in formulating scientific discourse, and the
rhetorical strategies used to transform social agendas into
scientific fact. We will begin with an introductory section
that outlines the main themes of the course by looking at
how scientific theories of race are a part of our everyday
experience and a historical overview of some of the main
theories of race. Three subsequent segments each focus on a
particular point at which theories of race and the practice
of science come into contact: biological theories of race
and intelligence, theories of race and sexuality, and the
role of different racial groups in the scientific
establishment. In each of these segments, we will begin by
reading a work or small group of works that highlight the
nature of the controversies in the area under discussion.
These will provide a theoretical framework within which to
consider the more specific documents that make up the
remainder of the assigned reading, which will address
specific historical or contemporary situations.


Requirements
a takehome midterm, two short papers (5-10 pp.), several
very short writing assignments, and a final exam. The two
papers and the midterm each count for 20% of your grade; the
final exam counts for the other 40%. Regular attendance at
class meetings is required, and more than two unexcused
absences will lead to your grade being reduced by a fraction
of a grade for each additional class you miss. 


Texts
Gould The Mismeasure of Man (Norton)
Harding (ed.) The "Racial" Economy of
  Science (Indiana UP)
Jacoby and Glauberman (eds.) The Bell Curve Debate:
  History, Documents, Opinions (Times Books)
Kevles In The Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of
  Human Heredity (Harvard)
Omi and Winant, Racial Formation in the United States:
  From the 1960s to the 1990s (Routledge, second
  edition)
Roscoe The Zuni Man-Woman (U of New Mexico Press)
Spanbauer The Man Who Fell in Love With the Moon
  (Harper)

There will also be a class reader, available from Copyworld
(2154 University Avenue.) 



SYLLABUS

Part 1
Theories of race in historical and cultural context 
The readings concern the history of theories of race and
their role in contemporary American life, and the
relationship between scientific theories of race and racial
prejudice.


Tuesday 1.16
Introduction; overview; goals; reading; requirements. 


Thursday 1.18
The American Cultures requirement; rhetoric, race, and
science. Reading: "Proposal for an American Cultures
Breadth Requirement" (reader #1.)


Tuesday 1.23
Screening of Skin Deep. 


Thursday 1.25
Discussion of Skin Deep.


Tuesday 1.30
Omi and Winant, Racial Formation in the United
States, Part I. First paper assigned.


Thursday 2.1
Omi and Winant, Racial Formation in the United
States, Part II.


Tuesday 2.6
Omi and Winant, Racial Formation in the United
States, Part III (pp. 95-159.)


Thursday 2.8
Discover special issue: "The Science of
Race" (reader #1.)


Tuesday 2.13
Research methods training session with Corliss Lee, American
Cultures Librarian.


Part 2
Biological theories of race and intelligence 
This segment will consider the history of biological
theories of the nature of race and its relationship to
intelligence, such as work on craniometry, craniology,
eugenics and intelligence testing, philosophical challenges
to the coherence of the notions of race and intelligence as
they are used in this debate, and the rhetorical
significance of contemporary appeals to scientific evidence
about race and intelligence.


Thursday 2.15
Craniometry, craniology, and the scientific construction of
race. Gould The Mismeasure of Man chs. 1-2. Harding
The "Racial" Economy of Science, pp.
116-141. Kevles In The Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the
Uses of Human Heredity ch. 1.


Tuesday 2.20
Measuring heads and bodies; race, gender and the role of
analogy in science. Gould The Mismeasure of Man chs.
3-4. Harding The "Racial" Economy of
Science, pp. 359-376. 


Thursday 2.22
Eugenics and the hereditarian theory of IQ. First paper due.
Gould The Mismeasure of Man pp. 146-174. Kevles In
The Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human
Heredity chs. 4-9.


Tuesday 2.27
Terman, Yerkes and the politics of IQ. Gould The
Mismeasure of Man pp. 174-233. Jacoby and Glauberman
The Bell Curve Debate, pp. 510-582. 


Thursday 2.29
Burt, Jensen, and Herrnstein: the reification of
intelligence. Take-home midterm handed out. Gould The
Mismeasure of Man pp. 234-296, 317-336. Harding The
"Racial" Economy of Science, pp. 142-160.
Jacoby and Glauberman The Bell Curve Debate, pp.
599-639.


Tuesday 3.5
Current controversy over race and intelligence. Kevles In
The Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human
Heredity chs. 17-18. Murray and Hernstein The Bell
Curve introduction, and chs. 13-14. (reader #2) 


Thursday 3.7
Responding to The Bell Curve. Jacoby and Glauberman
The Bell Curve Debate, selections.


Part 3
Who gets to do science?
This segment takes a comparative and historical approach to
the question of the role of different racial groups in the
practice of science, both in the formulation of scientific
discourse and the conduct of scientific research. The
principal focus is on the role of European Americans and
African Americans in the scientific establishment. Some
attention will also be given to an international perspective
on American science, comparing the culture and values of
European American, Asian American and Japanese physicists.


Tuesday 3.12
The rejection of scientific racism. Harding The
"Racial" Economy of Science, pp. 161-200. 


Thursday 3.14
The experience of black scientists. Take-home midterm due.
Harding The "Racial" Economy of Science,
pp. 201-258. Douglass "The Claims of the Negro
Ethnologically Considered" (reader #2)


Tuesday 3.19
Primatology and physics in a multicultural field. Harding
The "Racial" Economy of Science, pp.
259-267, 377-407. 


Thursday 3.21
Science, race, and morality. Second paper assigned. Harding
The "Racial" Economy of Science, pp.
275-286, 341-358, 440-471.


Spring Break. Tuesday 3.26 & Thursday 3.28.


Part 4
"Berdache" and the scientific study
of sexuality 
This segment will address scientific theories of race and
sexuality by way of a study of the history and theory of
"berdache." We will first consider Foucault's and
McIntosh's social constructionist accounts of sexuality, and
consider the extent to which they are applicable to the
debate over the role of "berdache" in indigenous
American culture, looking at work written by historians,
anthropologists, and native Americans. We will compare
treatment of sexual and racial difference by these authors,
and the relation between their views about the relationship
between social construction and scientific realism and the
particular theories and approaches that they advocate. We
will conclude by reading a recent novel about a berdache
that will provide a final opportunity to reflect on the
relationship between race and sexuality.


Tuesday 4.2
Homosexuality and social construction. Foucault The
History of Sexuality, Volume I chapter 2 (reader)
McIntosh "The Homosexual Role" (reader) Halperin
"100 Years of Homosexuality" &
"`Homosexuality': A Cultural Construct" (reader)


Thursday 4.4
The spirit and the flesh: sexual diversity in American
Indian culture Williams "The Character of the
Berdache" (reader)


Tuesday 4.9
From "berdache" to "two-spirit." Katz
"Native Americans/Gay Americans: 1528-1976"
(reader) Whitehead "The bow and the burden strap"
(reader) Weinrich "Reality or Social
Construction?" (reader) Jacobs & Thomas
"Native American Two-Spirits" (reader)


Thursday 4.11
Who was We'Wha? Roscoe The Zuni Man-Woman, prologue,
and chs. 1-4. Roscoe "Was We'Wha a homosexual?"
(reader)


Tuesday 4.16
Where do berdaches come from? Roscoe The Zuni
Man-Woman, chs. 5-8. Roscoe "How to become a
berdache: toward a unified analysis of gender
diversity" (reader)


Thursday 4.18
Meeting with Will Roscoe. Second paper due.


Tuesday 4.23
Killdeer. Spanbauer The Man Who Fell in Love With the
Moon, Book 1.


Thursday 4.25
Journey and homecoming. Spanbauer The Man Who Fell in
Love With the Moon, Books 2-3.


Tuesday 4.30
Devil. Spanbauer The Man Who Fell in Love With the
Moon, Book 4 and epilogue.


Thursday 5.2
Conclusion.
Home page