Current exhibition

sketches of heads and faces

Detail from John Bulwer’s “Anthropometamorphosis”

Race Deconstructed: Science and the Making of Difference

January 7 – July 14, 2022

What is race? The term continues to defy easy explanation. Is it an anthropological category or an accident of geography and climate? Is it merely our superficial appearance, our hair, eyes and skin color? Is it biologically determined or is it a social construct that has been conflated with genetics? Can science offer a meaningful definition of what race means?

This exhibition explores the changing concept of race using examples drawn from across Western science between the fifteenth and twentieth centuries. Race as a concept has been used to promote tribalism, white supremacy, and “otherness,” bolstered by scientific claims that provided a justification for discrimination. Scientific understanding of race has had a profound effect on the making of America, from the transatlantic slave trade to policies on immigration and civil rights. By exploring the medical and scientific theories of race from the past, Race Deconstructed seeks to shed light on how the science of race continues to shape our society even in the present day.

 View this exhibition online at race-deconstructed/introduction.

 

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For information on previous exhibitions, see our past exhibitions page.