Materiality, Knowledges, Politics: Understanding Race Through Science and Technology Studies

Eugene Lang College Lib Arts: Anthropology

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

Race in Science/Tech Studies

Fall 2022

Taught By: Katharina Schramm

Section: A

CRN: 14663

Credits: 4

Race is a troubling matter of concern. As a tool to categorize humans in a hierarchical order that privileged the white European subject, nineteenth and twentieth century race science contributed to colonial genocide, Nazi eugenics and the brutal violence of segregation and apartheid. Even though today there is broad consensus that typological race has no biological foundation, race continues to have profound impacts on people’s life chances, health status and political relations. Moreover, racial formations have taken new shape in the life sciences themselves, as for example in genomics and forensics. How can we grasp this persistent significance and “polyvalent mobility” (Stoler) of race? How can we recognize race as an “absent presence” (M’charek, Schramm and Skinner) - buried, yet haunting; often un-named, yet effective; slippery and difficult to grasp, yet manifest in specific material configurations? In this course, we will focus on contributions from the anthropology of science and technology to unpack how race is articulated in practice. We will discuss how race transcends the binary orders of nature/culture, science/politics and fact/fiction. To account for the situatedness of race, we will study a variety of ethnographic cases: from the surprising career of a medical instrument to the promotion of “race-specific” drugs; from European border regimes to forensic databases in Mexico. We will develop a critical vocabulary that helps us to understand and potentially undo the ongoing global inequalities of race. References: Stoler, Ann Laura. 1997. “Racial Histories and Their Regimes of Truth.” Political Power & Social Theory 11: 183–206. M’charek, Amade, Katharina Schramm, and David Skinner. 2014. “Introduction: Technologies of Belonging: The Absent Presence of Race in Europe.” Science, Technology & Human Values 39 (4): 459–68. This course is offered by Katharina Schramm, Heuss Visiting Professor of Anthropology.

College: Eugene Lang College Lib Arts (LC)

Department: Anthropology (LANT)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 18

Add/Drop Deadline: September 12, 2022 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: December 18, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

* Seats available but reserved for a specific population.

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 6:26am EST 11/27/2022