I am an Assistant Professor jointly appointed in the Departments of Black Studies and History. My work explores how religion, politics, and social life have shaped the development of the race concept within science. To this end my work draws upon the fields of intellectual history, ethnic studies, the history and philosophy of science, religious studies as well as a range of disciplines within the social and behavioral sciences.
I am currently working on a book under contract with Stanford University press titled, “The Religious Pursuit of Race: Christian Thought and the Development of Modern Racial Science.” In this work I show how there has been a sustained relationship between Christian natural philosophy and modern scientific ideas about race from the time of the Enlightenment to present-day genetic research.
With this book I look to challenge the prevailing idea that the development of modern science ushered in studies of human difference that were consistently secular and freed of all traces of Christian thought. I argue, however, that theological assumptions about God, nature, and human ancestry were carried over into modern racial science, facilitating its proliferation as a new authority on the question of human origins, yet remaining indebted to Christian concepts.
Research and Teaching Interests:
- Race, Science, and Society
- The Eugenics Movement
- Science and Religion in the West
- African American History
- The Religious Pursuit of Race: Christian Thought and the Development of Modern Racial Science
In progress, book manuscript
- The Work and Thought of Dr. Charles V. Roman
Research ongoing (racial medicine, ethics of early twentieth-century public health research, defining “environmental factors” of health outcomes)
- Race and the Public Consumption of Neanderthal Admixture Research
Research ongoing (scientific labs, genetic genealogists, direct-to-consumer ancestry testing companies)
- The Ethics of Human Enhancement: Lessons from Frederick H. Osborn and the American Eugenics Society
Research ongoing (American Philosophical Society, contemporary consumer health groups)
- “Religion, Polygenism, and the Early Science of Human Origins” History of the Human Sciences, Vol. 26, Issue 2, April 2013: 3-32
- “Neanderthal Genes, Religion and the Search for the Unique Identity of Modern Humans” Gene Watch Vol. 23, Issue 3, May-June 2010
- “Charles V. Roman and the Specter of Polygenism in Progressive Era Public Health Research” Journal for the Social History of Medicine, doi:10.1093