GIRI: Examining Neuroscience, Genetics, and Inequality

The 2017 Fall Global Inequality Research Institute (GIRI) Seminar Examining Neuroscience, Genetics and Inequality explored controversial and important issues related to race, genetics and inequality, how they are studied, and whether (and how) such studies should inform medical practice, criminal and other legal actions, personal identity claims, health disparities, and social policy. Should we phase out the use of racial terminology in biological sciences? If so, will the conventional terminology be replaced by new language that preserves the same ideas? And are those ideas actually incorrect? If we deem illegitimate genetic explanations for differences in group-based behaviors and outcomes, is there still a space for genetic explanations for differences in individual behaviors and outcomes? Theo Goldberg refers to as “racial Europeanization,” or how race and racism are framed as a problem everywhere but in Europe. What does it mean to study race in Europe when race is often seen as inexistent? What are the socio-historical experiences of black populations across the continent? What is the role of racism and discrimination for the continued marginalization of non-white populations? We will discuss how to think racially outside of the United States, the formation of intergroup economic stratification, the nature of the “immigrant problem” vis a vis citizenship, the role of the state and statistics about race and ethnicity, the role of whiteness and national identities, the question of Islam and Islamophobia, and the role of hate speech and anti-racist movements and legal frameworks.