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

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Friday November 15

5:30 PM  –  8:00 PM

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 Our understanding of human difference stems from long-held and outdated ideas about race.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.

Dr. Robin Nelson is a biological anthropologist who utilizes evolutionary theory in studies of family dynamics and health outcomes for adults and children. Her recent work explores the physical and psychosocial development of children living in state-sponsored residential childcare facilities in Jamaica. In addition, Dr. Nelson and her colleagues have worked extensively on issues surrounding sexual harassment and assault in field settings. Dr. Nelson is a faculty member in the Department of Anthropology at Santa Clara University.


5:30 PM: Enjoy complimentary light appetizers and a cash bar. Meals are available for purchase at Exploration: A Zack Bruell Restaurant, located off the Museum's main lobby.

7 PM: Presentation begins in Murch Auditorium, followed by questions and answers.

Parking: Special event parking rates apply.

Admission: Members: $10; nonmembers: $12; College students: $6. 

Member discounts will be reflected in cart.