Courses Offered by Affiliated Faculty

 Exhibiting the Black Body

AFRC/SOCI   338/620 338/660         Tukufu Zuberi

This course concerns the exhibiting of Black Bodies in Museums and gallery spaces. We will trace the evolution of public history from the "Cabinets of Curiosity" in 18th and 19th Century Europe, through to the current institutional confirmation of the vindications traditions represented by Museu Afro Brasil (Sao Paulo, Brazil), National Museum of African American History and Culture (Washington.), and the Museum of Black Civilization (Dakar, Senegal). We will give particular attention to "why these representations at these times in these places?." In the process of addressing these questions we will give voice to the figures who conceived the curatorial content from those with the colonial mentality, to those with the abolitionist and nationalist and Pan-African visions.


Sociology of Race and Ethnicity

AFRC/SOCI   535  305/533   Spring  Tukufu Zuberi

Race and ethnicity are, above all, both converge as system of ideas by which men and women imagine the human body and their relationships within society. In this course we will question the concept of race and ethnicity and their place in modern society (1500 - 2020). While the course reviews the pre-1500 literature our focus will be on the last 500 years. This course reviews the research that has contributed to the ideas about ethnicity and race in human society. The review covers the discourse on race in political propaganda, religious doctrine, philosophy, history, biology and other human sciences.


Comparative Medicine

HSOC 145      Fall      Projit Mukharji

This course explores the medical consequences of the interaction between Europe and the "non- West." It focuses on three parts of the world Europeans colonized: Africa, South Asia, and Latin America. Today's healing practices in these regions grew out of the interaction between the medical traditions of the colonized and those of the European colonizers. We therefore explore the nature of the interactions. What was the history of therapeutic practices that originated in Africa or South Asia? How did European medical practices change in the colonies? What were the effects of colonial racial and gender hierarchies on medical practice? How did practitioners of "non-Western" medicine carve out places for themselves? How did they redefine ancient traditions? How did patients find their way among multiple therapeutic traditions? How does biomedicine take a different shape when it is practiced under conditions of poverty, or of inequalities in power? How do today's medical problems grow out of this history? This is a fascinating history of race and gender, of pathogens and conquerors, of science and the body. It tells about the historical and regional roots of today's problems in international medicine.

Taught once every academic year. Open to all students, fulfills two sector requirements.


 Race, Science, and Globalization

HSOC/STSC 219                  Fall      Sebastián Gil-Riaño 

This course examines how the practice of sorting humans into distinct races is connected to the rise of modern science and to the economic globalization sparked by Columbus’ arrival in the Americas in 1492. By examining the trajectory of race in science from the Iberian conquest of the Americas until the present, we will examine the ways in which colonial logics and structures persist into the present and the ways they’ve been disrupted by various revolutionary, anti-colonial, and anti-racist movements. Along the way, we will observe how cultural ideas about race have been woven into the conceptual fabric of modern scientific disciplines such as anthropology, biology, psychology, and sociology and how these disciplines have sought to redeem themselves from their racist pasts. 

Usually offered in the Fall semester.


Law & Medicine: Global Themes

HSOC 258                  Fall                  Projit Mukharji

The course will explore the complex relationship between Law and Medicine in the modern world. It will cover a range of themes such as the regulation of quackery, forensic science, medical malpractice, medical patents and biopiracy etc. The course will be historical in its orientation and roughly cover the period from the late seventeenth century to the present. It will also focus particularly on the Majority World, looking especially at case studies from Asia and Africa.

 New course potentially offered every other year. Open to all students, explores.


Hybrid Science

HSOC/STSC 338      Spring  Sebastián Gil-Riaño

What role did science and medicine play in the creation and growth of the Spanish and Portuguese empires? And why was the creation of science and health institutions crucial to the revolutionary movements for independence in Latin America? This course examines science and medicine in Latin America by attending to the ways that knowledge of nature and health has been central to the political struggles of the countries in this region. A crucial dynamic shaping the history and culture of this region is the interplay between the healing practices and cosmologies of European settlers, indigenous Americans, and the descendants of African slaves. Bearing this interplay in mind, the course explores how Latin America has been a fertile site of scientific creativity. It also examines the ways in which Latin American scientists and medical experts have refashioned concepts and practices from Europe and North America to fit local circumstances. 

Usually offered in the Spring Semester.


Reproductive Rights and Justice

LAW   734-001     Spring      Dorothy Roberts

This course will explore the law governing reproductive health and freedom in the United States from both reproductive rights and reproductive justice approaches. According to If/When/How, “The reproductive rights framework is a legal model that serves to protect an individual’s right to reproductive decision making. The reproductive justice framework employs a broader, intersectional analysis that emphasizes the ways that race, class, gender, sexuality, ability, age, and immigration status can affect a person or community’s reproductive lives.” We will therefore discuss both court decisions that focus on adjudicating constitutional rights and scholarship and advocacy that seek to promote social justice. We will also take a broad view of reproductive health and freedom that extends beyond access to abortion to include regulation of pregnancy and birth, parenting, adoption and foster care, assisted reproductive technologies, contraception, and sterilization.

Class Discussion: All students are expected to read the assigned materials, attend class, and be prepared to participate in class discussion every week. To facilitate discussion, a different panel of students will help to lead the discussion each week. You should be prepared to answer questions about and comment on the readings for the day your panel is designated. Others may join the discussion as time permits. If you anticipate missing class on the day of your panel, please let me know as soon as possible.


Philosophy of Science

PHIL   025      Quayshawn Spencer   

What counts as a scientific theory? What counts as evidence for a scientific theory? Are scientific inferences justified? Does science give us truths or approximate truths about a world that exists independently of us? How can we know? Does it matter? These are all perennial questions in the philosophy of science, and the goal of this course is to look at how philosophers have answered these questions since the scientific revolution. In addition to reading classic work by philosophers of science, we will read material from living and dead scientists in order to gain a deeper appreciation of the philosophical questions that have troubled the most brilliant scientists in Western science.

Offered Every Year; satisfies SAS's math & natural science sector requirement


Philosophy of Race

PHIL   291      Quayshawn Spencer   

Historically, philosophical questions about race have been about the nature and reality of race, the nature of racism, and social or political questions related to race or racism. In fitting with that history, the first part of the course will focus on the nature and reality of race, as understood in biology and as understood by ordinary people. We will begin by looking at biological race theories from Francois Bernier in 1684 to Pigliucci and Kaplan in 2003. Next, we will look at the philosophical work that has been done on the nature and reality of race as ordinarily understood in the contemporary United States. We will discuss racial anti-realism, social constructionism about race, and biological racial realism from well-known philosophers of race like Anthony Appiah, Sally Haslanger, and Joshua Glasgow. The second part of the course will focus on the nature of racism and social or political questions related to race or racism. In our discussion of racism, we will cover, at least, intrinsic racism, extrinsic racism, and institutional racism. In our discussion of social or political issues related to race or racism, we will look at whether any US racial groups should be used to diagnose, study, or treat genetic disorders.

SAS, undergrad seminar, Philosophy, Every year


Race and Biology

PHIL   525      Quayshawn Spencer   

For the last four centuries, scientific research has provided our most reliable understanding of the world. Although the scientific revolution started modestly with attempts to understand stellar movement, we now know the age and constitution of the universe, the basis of heredity, and we can make and break chemical bonds at will. By all appearances, science seems to have made substantial progress from the scientific revolution to the global scientific enterprise of the 21st century. This course is about how science has generated this knowledge, and whether it has been as progressive and reliable as it seems. We will consider methodological issues such as the sources of scientific knowledge, objectivity, the growing importance of computation in the natural sciences, and the nature of modeling. We will examine products of scientific research: explanations, models, theories, and laws of nature. And we will discuss questions about science and values, including whether non-scientific values can and should enter scientific research, the relationship between science and religion, and the role of the public in guiding the scientific enterprise.

SAS, graduate course & undergrads with permission, Philosophy, Every two years


Science and Objectivity

PHIL   558      Quayshawn Spencer   

Graduate course & undergrads with permission, Philosophy, Every two years


 Metaphysics of Race

PHIL   XYZ    Quayshawn Spencer   

Graduate course & undergrads with permission, SAS, Philosophy, Every two years (new graduate course)


Demography of Race

SOCI   339/632           Fall      Tukufu Zuberi

This course will examine demographic and statistical methods used to capture the impact of racial stratification in society. This course covers the skills and insights used by demographers and social statisticians in the study of racial data. A key challenge facing researchers is the interpretation of the vast amount of racial data generated by society. As these data do not directly answer important social questions, data analysis and statistics must be used to interpret them. The course will examine the logic used to communicate statistical results from racial data in various societies. We will question the scientific claims of social science methodology by extending the critical perspective to biases that may underlie research methods. We will discuss good and bad practices within the context of the historical developments of the methods.



Technologies of Self and Society

STSC   289      Spring  Sebastián Gil-Riaño

As European empires expanded in the late eighteenth century, “social science” began to emerge in the lexicons of Western societies. Since these early beginnings in European imperialism, the social sciences have sought to represent, alter, and govern human existence while struggling to define “society” as something separate from “nature”. This class examines how questions concerning the proper management of self and society are central to the ambitions and dilemmas of modern social sciences. We begin by tracing the origins of social science in late-eighteenth century thought and their professionalization in the nineteenth century. Continuing through to the twentieth century, we will observe how core social science disciplines like sociology, anthropology, and psychology attempted - in the name of anti-racism - to carve out distinct niches in opposition to biology and genetics. The course also examines the dramatic growth of the social sciences during the cold war period thanks to military funds. Our examination of cold war social science will focus on how social scientists began carving up the world into different “area” of study and how they became increasingly oriented towards re-making individual psyches and societies in the “third world” to fit the image of an industrialized “West”. The course will conclude by examining calls from indigenous scholars and scholars in the global South to decolonize social science.

Usually offered in the Spring Semester