During the course of American history, scientific theories have been used to legitimate racial ideas that in turn have been important in creating and interpreting the law. Race and
Science collects essays from leading voices in law, history, history of science, botany, and the social sciences, resulting in a rich and comprehensive multidisciplinary exploration
of the roots of and the scientific challenges to racial essentialism.
|"Which word, apart from race, could bring natural scientists, social scientists, legal scholars, and humanists together to debate everything from the historical origins of the concept to its future prospects in the light of genomics, from its function as a political ploy to its inspiration for legal minds in devising racial purity laws as well as legislating desegregation? This excellent interdisciplinary collection of essays illuminates race in all its facets and in fascinating case studies from the United States, Europe, and the plant world."|
— Werner Sollors, Professor of Literature and African and African American Studies, Harvard University
The notion that someone's racial identity and characteristics define everything of importance about them has
become deeply embedded in American culture, society, and science. These essays illuminate the roots of this belief and present case studies that explore how and why natural and social
scientists have challenged these racist views.
Paul Farber is OSU Distinguished Professor of History of Science Emeritus. He is the author of Finding Order in Nature: The Naturalist Tradition from Linnaeus to E. O. Wilson and The Temptations of Evolutionary Ethics.
Hamilton Cravens is Professor of History at Iowa State University. His publications include nine books, notably The Triumph of Evolution: The Heredity-Evolution Controversy and the forthcoming Imagining the Good Society: The Social Sciences in the American Past and Present.