WMU News

Anthropologist disputes impact of race on human biology

Oct. 15, 2002

KALAMAZOO -- An expert in biological anthropology will come to the Western Michigan University campus to question the idea of using race as a means to understand biological differences in humans during a lecture sponsored by the Visiting Scholars and Artists Program

Dr. George Armelagos, professor of biological anthropology at Emory University, will give a slide-illustrated presentation, "Myths of Race and the Reality of Racism," at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, in Room 1032 of Moore Hall.

"Race as a biological concept is of little value," says Armelagos. He says its actually the use of race as a social construct and its misapplication that perpetuates racism, and it is actually racism that continues to have an impact on the biology in large segments of the population.

In addition to Thursday' s lecture, Armelagos will speak the following day on " Diet and Disease in Pre-History" to students and faculty in the Department of Anthropology. He also will offer an interdisciplinary lecture Friday to the university community. The presentation, titled " The Road to the Viral Superhighway," will begin at 3 p.m. in Room 1032 of Wood Hall, with a reception to follow. That talk will focus on the implications of viruses, including HIV and Ebola, in the context of human global culture and habitat change. All lectures are open to the public and will take place in Room 1032 of Moore Hall.

The Visiting Scholars and Artists Program at WMU was established in 1960 and has supported more than 500 visits by scholars and artists representing some 65 academic disciplines. The chairperson of the committee that oversees the program is Dr. Carol Bennett, instructor in the Department of Business Information Systems.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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