February 13, 2023
12:00 pm - 1:30 pm 352 Haines Hall
Quantitative and Computational Biology, USC
"Hair, skin, and the racialization of human variation."
Abstract: After decades of broadcasting the message that race is a social construct, we find uncritical taxonomic groupings of humans creep back into discussions across disciplines. The terms “race,” “ethnicity,” and “ancestry group” are used alongside typological descriptors of traits like skin and hair, often distorting their variability in a way that reinforces racial typologies. The adoption of quantitative phenotyping methods vastly improved our understanding of skin pigmentation and its evolutionary function while providing a novel non-racialized vocabulary for discussing variation in this trait. The study of hair lags behind in the exploration of phenotypic variation with a similar level of complexity. This talk will discuss the impact of methods and racialized perceptions on our understanding of the evolutionary biology of various traits and the implications of this knowledge in healthcare, forensics, and emerging technologies.
Meeting ID: 928 2643 6236
host: UCLA BEC