GRAD 202: Racism in Science

We're excited to host the GRAD 202: Racism in Science course for all first year basic sciences PhD students, offered by the Graduate Division Dean's Office.

Aimee Medeiros, PhD
Associate Professor, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences

D'Anne Duncan, PhD
Assistant Dean for Diversity and Learner Success
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Graduate Student Instructors:
Miranda Cabanski-Dunning, Tetrad PhD Student
Geremy Lowe, History of Health Sciences PhD Student
Ernesto Rojas, Developmental and Stem Cell Biology MD/PhD Student
Alexzandria Simon, History of Health Sciences PhD Student

Course Dates and Time: Fall 2023, September 28/29 – December 7/8, 10am–noon (Pacific Time)  

**Classes will be held in-person on October 12 and 13 as well as November 2 and 3 in Mission Hall 1401 & 1402 (Mission Bay). There will be no classes on November 9 and 10 (Veteran’s day), and on November 23 and 24 (Fall break). 

Course Description

This introductory course provides the historical background of systemic racism in scientific research, with a particular emphasis on anti-Black racism. As Derek Bell reminds us, "discussions of injustices experienced by Black Americans frame and guide the needed work to end racial injustice for other groups” (Bell 1993). Grad 202 explores the relationship between notions of race and science and how scientific research has been informed by and perpetuates anti-Black racism.  It also examines the impact of bias and a lack of diversity in science and ways in which to address these deficiencies. 

Course Objectives

  • Diagram the centrality of anti-black racism in scientific research
  • Describe specific examples of racism in the history of science
  • Distinguish how science naturalizes racial inequalities
  • Execute the principles of social justice-oriented scientific research
  • Devise actions to address bias and a lack of diversity in scientific research

Course Schedule

Week 1 – Introduction: Does Science Have a Racism Problem?

Week 2 – KNOWLEDGE - Science, Racial Categorization, and the Social Construction of Universal Truths 

Week 3 – CAMPUS CULTURE - Black STEM and JEDI Principles 

Week 4 – RESEARCH - From the Lab to the Clinic 

Week 5 – FUNDING - Separate and Unequal: The Racial Politics of Scientific Research 

Week 6 – ACTIVISM - Practical Approaches to Equity 

Week 7 – Break

Week 8 – GENETICS - Past, Present, Future 

Week 9 – Break

Week 10 – REIMAGINING SCIENCE - The Future of Biomedicine