Science and Race: History, Use, and Abuse

Penn Museum, University of Pennsylvania



Photo by Steve Minicola, courtesy of University of Pennsylvania.


Photo courtesy of University of Pennsylvania.

The Penn Museum will present a series of programs intended to generate public conversations around the connections between race, science, and social justice. Science and Race: History, Use, and Abuse will commence in September 2016 to explore the complex aspects of the historical origins of race theory, and why it matters today, featuring experts in genetics and biology, criminal justice, and community health, and the history of science. A central point of focus will be the Museum's Samuel George Morton Cranial Collection—a significant but controversial group of objects. Morton, who collected human skulls in the 19th century, formed personal conclusions about racial groups based on scientific measurements that have since been discounted. The project will culminate with a documentary film focused on understanding and deconstructing race and racism, to premiere in 2017.