Week 2

Histories of Race and Nation


An important note: Shortly after I recorded this lecture, I found that the commonplace wisdom about Samuel Morton I report in the lecture-that Morton made systematic errors in organizing and measuring skulls-is, in fact, not true. Stephen Jay Gould, the author who made those claims against Morton in 1978, was actually wrong, as it turns out. I’ve substituted two readings on this issue here in order to start to clear things up, and to get a window on a fascinating controversy involving science, objectivity, and race (Dr. Brandt Peterson summer 2014).


    • Weekly Blog
      • Reflection post: 250-300 words. Analytical summary of the week’s readings. Consider organizing your blog post around a few key themes from the week’s readings and discussing individual readings, activities, and/or concepts in relation to each theme.
      • Possible themes:
        • What are the distinguishing features of racism?
        • Explain the connection between the race concept and the European Enlightenment.
        • Assess the following statement: “Modern biological science and the concept of race grew up hand-in-hand.” Do you agree? What do you think the statement suggests, based on the material you’ve encountered this week?
      • Category: Week 2 Reflection Post


    • Analytic post: 250-300 words. Note that there are two themes youneedto address this week.
      • Explain the concept of “racialization” in your own words, and give an example from the news or from popular culture. Your example should demonstrate how the process works and address the key points highlighted in the definition of racialization.
      • How would you explain the Gould/Morton controversy to a friend or family member? Do you think Gould’s inaccuracies lend credibility to Morton’s claims about race and intelligence?
      • Category: Week 2 Analytic Post


  • Comment posts: Two posts, 150 words each. Comment/reply to two other students’ blog posts, one reflection post and analytic post.


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