Feb 13

Race and Human Classification

Guest Lecturer: Jeff Fleisher, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Anthropology

Jeff Fleisher is an anthropological archaeologist that works in coastal Tanzania, East Africa. His dissertation research focuses on rural perspectives of urban development beginning in coastal East Africa in the early second millennium AD.

ABSTRACT: This lecture will explore the biological and genetic evidence for human evolution, specifically as it pertains to the concept of race and racial difference. In particular, I look at the belief that there are real biological (either physical or genetic) differences that underlie racial groups. To do this, I will lay out the major competing models for understanding the origin and spread of modern humans across the globe. This evidence will show that although race is a powerful social construction, it has no scientific basis in either human evolution or genetics.


I. A short history of human evolution; early hominids to Homo Erectus

II. Models of human evolution, from Erectus to modern Homo Sapien Sapiens
    1. Candelabra Model
    2. Theory of Eve and mtDNA
    3. Trellis model

III. Implications
    1. How do we define a biological race?
    2. Connections between all humans is constant
    3. We were never truly 'separate': no early 'purity'
    4. A border-less world
    5. We are all African: Africa as the physical and genetic homeland