Michael Yudell, "Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the Twentieth Century" (Columbia UP, 2018)

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Race, while drawn from the visual cues of human diversity, is an idea with a measurable past, an identifiable present, and an uncertain future. The concept of race has been at the center of both triumphs and tragedies in American history and has had a profound effect on the human experience. Race Unmasked: Biology and Race in the Twentieth Century (Columbia UP, 2018)revisits the origins of commonly held beliefs about the scientific nature of racial differences, examines the roots of the modern idea of race, and explains why race continues to generate controversy as a tool of classification even in our genomic age. Surveying the work of some of the twentieth century's most notable scientists, Race Unmasked reveals how genetics and related biological disciplines formed and preserved ideas of race and, at times, racism. A gripping history of science and scientists, Race Unmasked elucidates the limitations of a racial worldview and throws the contours of our current and evolving understanding of human diversity into sharp relief.

About the author: Michael Yudell is a public health ethicist, award-winning historian, and professor and Vice Dean at the College of Health Solutions at Arizona State University. He is the co-editor of the Columbia University Press Series Race, Inequality, and Health and the author of several books, including Race Unmasked, for which he won the Arthur J. Viseltear Award from the American Public Health Association.

About the interviewer: Hussein Mohsen is a PhD/MA Candidate in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics/History of Science and Medicine at Yale University. His research interests include machine learning, cancer genomics, and the history of human genetics. For more about his work, visit http://www.husseinmohsen.com.

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