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Lecture 3

NEW240Y1Y Lecture 3.docx

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New College
June Larkin

NEW240Y1Y Lecture 3: Historical Construction of Inequities: 1. Social and Historical Constructions 2. The Science of Normalcy 3. Social Darwinism 4. Eugenics Looking at these different identities as a set of cultural products rather than as situations/conditions that are “natural” Key Points: - How differences in power have been interpreted as the natural outcome of biological differences - That terms such as “race” “homosexual” and the concept of “normalcy” are relatively recent inventions - How science has been used to construct inequities/challenge inequities - At least one of these questions/points from today will be on midterm exam. Inequity: - We are located in multiple positions - We always think about equity in terms of oppression; but we need to look at in terms of privilege as well Knapsacks of Privilege: - Gender - Race - Class - Able-bodiedness - disability - Citizenship Social and Historical Constructions of Inequity: What are some of the criteria used to define race? - Skin pigmentation, brain size, many various factor - Concept of Race is a new practice - First time used primarily as a word to describe a group of people th - 18 century, term described a group of people who had specific characteristics that were from descent; biological defined group - Scientists: trying to figure out where “race” was: many studies of body parts The Science of Race: - As science of race developed, tools developed to measure racial difference - Predominant way of dividing individuals into different racial groups - Trying to rationalize slavery – began measuring at this time, with the help of science race became a powerful tool for sorting races into various hierarchies = scientific racism - Historically, debate concerning how many races, 3 primary ones developed, black white and yellow - What has changed over time is who has been sorted into these categories - Problem with this: Italian and Irish immigrants considered lower than “whites”. Irish also argued to be separate from British. - Language described in quote in similar way African peoples were described during - Today: concept of race has no scientific basis, people cannot be divided into such distinct categories - Does race exist? Over 98% of genetic variation is shared across genetics - Race: not a useful category for talking about the basis of biological variation American Anthropological Association: - Same views Latest trend: looking at intelligence - Focusing on IQ tests - What is the connection between IQ and immigration policies? IQ and Immigrations Policies: - Northern Europeans – lower intelligence (Russians considered lower race, scored level of “moron”) – tightened up IQ tests to prevent Russians from coming into country. Why did they do badly? Tests in English and based on cultural assumptions. - IQ has played a massive role in terms of how we think
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