Message posted on 24/11/2023

Invited talk (hybrid) Prof Jenny Reardon (TUM Global Ambassador) “Constructing ‘Anti-Racist’ Authoritarian Science, 1950-Present”

Dear colleagues, students & friends,

we would like to extend you a cordial invitation to an invited talk by Prof Jenny Reardon – a Professor of Sociology and the Founding Director of the Science and Justice Center at the University of California, Santa Cruz, recently appointed TUM Global Ambassador.

Prof. Jenny Reardon on Constructing ‘Anti-Racist’ Authoritarian Science, 1950-Present

Friday, 1st of December 2023 at 12:00-14:00 Location: Arcisstr. 21, 80333 Munich 1200 Carl-von-Linde-Hörsaal (0502.01.200) (TUM Main Campus)


Talk Abstract How did proponents of theories of racial hygiene under the National Socialist regime in Germany come to serve as experts who drafted and commented on the UNESCO Statements on Race? For nearly seventy-five years, these Statements have served as paradigmatic reference points for scholars and activists who have sought to argue that the concept of race has no meaningful basis in biology, and that all are human, deserving of fundamental rights. What sense can be made of this troubling puzzle that lies at the heart of their drafting? The answer, I argue, lies in unraveling how during the early years of the Cold War, scientists, political leaders and bureaucrats forged an understanding of ‘science’ as a moral force of ‘truth’ that could undergird liberal democracies and oppose ideologies of racism and Communism. This talk documents how Cold War constructions of science and science policy worked to rehabilitate the moral status of geneticists and physical anthropologists who supported the eugenics and sterilization policies of the National Socialist regime, but who after WWII opposed Lysenkoist theories of genetics propagated by the Soviet Communist Party. I conclude by considering how this episode can help shed light on the current moment in which many once again attempt to mobilize ‘science’ as an anti-racist, anti-authoritarian force. How far have liberal democracies moved from a Cold War politics of science and truth that fosters racism even as it claims to be anti-racist?

If you would like to attend online, please use the following Zoom link: [Meeting-ID: 612 2439 1829 | Kenncode 070653]

Feel free to circulate this invitation to interested colleagues, friends, and students.

We are looking forward to seeing you there!

This talk is organized by the Chair for Science and Technology Policy, TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology, Department of Science, Technology & Society

Best, The Science and Technology Policy Team

-- Dr. phil. Georgia Samaras Research Associate | Lecturer (Akademische Rätin) Master’s RESET (Responsibility in Science, Engineering, and Technology) | +49 89 289 29220 (she/her)

Technical University of Munich (TUM) TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology Department of Science, Technology and Society (STS) Augustenstrasse 46 | Room 351 80333 München

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