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Message posted on 28/05/2024

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

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

Tuesday, 4th of June 2024 at 17:30-19:30 Location: Augustenstr. 46, 80333 Munich Seminar room 370 (2903.03.370) Department of Science, Technology & Society


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: 640 2284 1183 | Password 989752]

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

Amy Clare, M.A. Doctoral Research Associate | Doktorandin Science and Technology Policy | Wissenschafts- und Technologiepolitik +49 (89) 289 – 29236 Pronouns: She/Her

Technical University of Munich (TUM) TUM School of Social Sciences and Technology Department of Science, Technology and Society (STS) Augustenstraße 46 80333 München, Germany

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