New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

New Book by NYU Sociologist Morning Reveals Ongoing Divisions Over What Constitutes Race

July 5, 2011
449

Divisions over what constitutes race remain widespread, even among academics, according to research by New York University sociologist Ann Morning. Her findings appear in the newly released The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference (University of California Press, July).

“Despite many social scientists’ claim that academics have come to a common understanding that race is a social invention, rather than a biological fact, my interviews with anthropologists and biologists reveal they are quite divided on this point,” explains Morning, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Sociology. “Not only are there differences between the social and natural scientists, but there is also a wide range of opinions within their disciplines.”

Morning also finds that American high-school textbooks today, in both the social and biological sciences, tend to teach that race is a biological characteristic of the human body rather than a social construct.

“Their definitions of race and discussions of genetic disease reinforce the idea of race as an innate, biologically determined attribute,” Morning writes, adding that none of the biology textbooks she studied “put forth the argument that the racial boundaries drawn among human beings can be understood as social, political, and historical products.”

Drawing from in-depth interviews with biologists, anthropologists, and undergraduates, Morning explores different conceptions of race and examines, in particular, how scientists are influencing ideas about race through teaching and textbooks. She also discusses new genetic accounts of race, and considers how corporations and the government use scientific research—for example, in designing DNA ancestry tests or census questionnaires—in ways that often reinforce the idea that race is biologically determined.

Reporters interested in speaking with Morning should contact James Devitt, NYU’s Office of Public Affairs, at 212.998.6808 or james.devitt@nyu.edu. For review copies, contact Heather Vaughan, University California Press, at heather.vaughan@ucpress.edu.

This Press Release is in the following Topics:
NYUToday-feature, Arts and Science, Research, Faculty Book, Faculty

Type: Press Release

Press Contact: James Devitt | (212) 998-6808

New Book NYU Sociologist Morning Reveals Ongoing Divisions Over What Constitutes Race

Divisions over what constitutes race remain widespread, even among academics, according to research by New York University sociologist Ann Morning. Her findings appear in the newly released The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference (University of California Press, July).


Search News



NYU In the News

Paying It Backward: NYU Alum Funds Scholarships

The Wall Street Journal profiled Trustee Evan Chesler on why he decided to chair the Momentum fund-raising campaign.

A Nobel Prize Party: Cheese, Bubbles, and a Boson

The New Yorker talked to Professor Kyle Cranmer and graduate student Sven Kreiss about NYU’s role in the discovery of the Higgs boson, which resulted in a Nobel prize for the scientists who predicted its existence.

The World as They Knew It

The New York Times reviewed the exhibit at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on how ancient Greeks and Romans mapped the known and unknown areas of their world.

Elite Institutions: Far More Diverse Than They Were 20 Years Ago

NYU made stronger gains over the last 20 years in increasing diversity than any other major research university, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Program Seeks to Nurture ‘Data Science Culture’
at Universities

The New York Times reported on the multi-million collaboration among NYU and two other universities to harness the potential of Big Data, including an interview with Professor Yann LeCun, director of NYU’s Center for Data Science.

NYU Footer