Human Races : Fact & Fiction

OSH 257 / Non Credit
Course taught in: English
Locations: LFH 102
Instructor: Dr. Peter Luykx

Course Description

This discussion group course will focus on the evolutionary origins of human geographic differences; biological and social definitions of race; human migration patterns and trait differences among human populations; race and IQ; and evolutionary, philosophical, and scientific thinking about “racial differences". 

Week 1

Racism in antiquity, and in other cultures. Tribalism in the biological world. Evolutionary considerations.

Week 2

The biological reality of races; problems of definition. Social construction of racial categories.

Week 3

Human migrations and evolutionary patterns of geographic differences. The supposed superiority of Europeans.

Week 4

Some “racial traits” and their origins: physical, genetic, biochemical. Geographical distribution of genetic diseases.

Week 5

Race & IQ: the nature-nurture debate; evidence on biological and cultural sources of IQ differences.

Week 6

Scientific and philosophical thinking about racial differences. What’s in a label? Recommendations.

Dr. Peter Luykx, PhD, received his Ph.D. degree from the University of California (Berkeley). He was on the Dept. of Biology faculty at the University of Miami 1967-2005, teaching General Genetics, Human Genetics, and Molecular Biology, and led undergraduate discussion courses on social and ethical issues in human genetics. He is a current member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), and a former member of the American Society of Human Genetics and the Genetics Society of America. He has published scientific papers in the areas of general genetics, human genome analysis, and evolution.

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