The Race Prism: How History and Bad Science Shape Our Ideas About Family and Community

November 15 from 5:30pm - 8:00pm

The Race Prism: How History and Bad Science Shape Our Ideas About Family and Community


Dr. Robin Nelson
Assistant Professor
Department of Anthropology, Santa Clara University

From TV ads for DNA tests that purport to connect us with long-lost ancestors to national discourse about "real Americans," notions of race and identity pervade many of our conversations. Our understanding of human difference stems from long-held and outdated ideas about race. By dismantling this model of the human family tree, divorced from history and the realities of human biological diversity, we also do the work of unpacking racism. Dr. Nelson will discuss this diversity and the historical and social roots of the race concept, revealing why the idea persists despite its scientific inaccuracy.

About Cleveland Museum of Natural History's Explorer Series

Connecting you to leaders of scientific discovery

Who are we? Where did we come from? How do we move forward together? The history of the human species is a story of unparalleled advancement, unprecedented socialization, and seemingly unlimited impact on the natural world. To understand ourselves is to understand our place in nature and our role in shaping our planet’s future.

In this season of the Explorer Lecture Series, hear from the experts who are examining our evolutionary history, exploring the molecular marvels of our bodies, and confronting the superficial barriers that societies have created to divide our species against itself. This distinctive forum features presentations from acclaimed scientists, authors, adventurers, and Museum curators. Join us on the journey to discover the answers to one of our most fundamental questions: What does it mean to be human?

Enjoy complimentary light appetizers and a cash bar. Museum exhibitions, galleries, and store are open. Meals are available for purchase at Exploration: A Zack Bruell Restaurant, located off the Museum’s main lobby.

Presentation begins, followed by Q&A. Select speakers sign their books afterward.

Please note: Lectures held from September through December will take place in Murch Auditorium. Lectures February through May will be held in Sears Hall, and will have limited capacity.

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