07 December 2017

Race Reconciled - Review by Jason Antrosio

Bloggers Rhiannon Mosher and Jennifer Long wanted to point readers to an important blog post on Living Anthropologically called “Race is not an accurate or productive way to describe human biological variation” by Jason Antrosio.

In this article, Antrosio discusses a special issue of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology and, deep in the post, the (mis) use of research in popular media and academic research articles. Antrosio writes:

As I searched relevant articles, I was shocked and disgusted to discover the materials from forensic anthropologists were not only suffering popular misinterpretation, but were also being misused in peer-reviewed academic journals. One of the only 2010 articles citing the forensic anthropology pieces from Race Reconciled is a diatribe by philosopher Neven Sesardic titled Race: A social destruction of a biological concept. Sesardic claims fuzzy-headed social scientists and philosophers have misunderstood the proper biological underpinnings of the race concept. Sesardic then uses the forensic anthropology articles to make his case. Sesardic calls Sauer a “bewildered and exasperated scientist” (2010:156) and goes on to approvingly quote Sauer’s 1992 article as supporting the idea of racial assignment. He similarly cherry-picks quotes from the 2009 articles to portray forensic anthropology as confirming traditional biological races.

What better way to end off the semester than to have students read this post and discuss how scientific research is interpreted in the media. Happy end of semester everyone!

Antrosio has updated both posts recently and they're definitely worth a read.

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