Berkeley Sociologist to Argue that Race Matters in Research

Although the mapping and sequencing of DNA has provided new tools to understand and unlock the genetics of race, many scientists claim that race has no function in their research. Sociologist Troy Duster argues otherwise.

A professor of sociology at New York University and the University of California, Berkeley, Duster will discuss the debate over race and genetic research on Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. in Billings North Lounge. The talk, which is titled “Human Molecular Genetics and the Subject of Race: Contrasting Theory and Rhetoric with Practical Applications in Law,” is part of the President’s Distinguished Lecture Series.

Duster concedes that some genetic studies look too narrowly at race, but asserts that race must continue to be a part of social scientific research. “The concept of race has been buried alive in contemporary scientific literature,” says Duster.

In his role as president-elect of the American Sociological Association, Duster defended the government’s racial classification of data: “African Americans may have more prostate cancer because of nutrition or because they have a higher likelihood of living near toxic waste dumps. Hypertension may be higher among blacks because they are being profiled by police on the highway and followed in department stores. We must continue to collect data and to study race as a social phenomenon because it makes for better science and a more informed policy debate.”

The lecture will be hosted by Sherwood Smith, assistant professor of integrated professional studies. For more information, contact the Center for Cultural Pluralism at 656-8833.

-UVM News