CHSTM: Perspectives on “Race Science” and Scientific Racism with Stephen Kenny

Perspectives on “Race Science” and
Scientific Racism
with Stephen Kenny
Gustav Mützel’s “Principal Types of Mankind (After Huxley),” 1893
In this episode of our podcast series on race and science, Stephen Kenny scrutinizes the career of surgeon Rudolph Matas, the so-called “father of vascular surgery.” Kenny demonstrates how his life and work must be understood in the context of segregation in the U.S. South and the racialized medicine that was practiced there in the 19th and 20th centuries. He also highlights the ways in which Matas used medical photography to legitimate an ideologically driven racialized research agenda.
New Episode:
Stephen Kenny is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Liverpool. His research and teaching explore histories of race, slavery, and medicine in the context of the 19th- and 20th-century United States, examining the deep-rooted nature of racism in medical education, research, and practice under slavery and Jim Crow segregation. His work can be found in numerous scholarly journals including the American Journal of Public Health, the Bulletin of the History of Medicine, the Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, and Social History of Medicine.
Listen to the discussion on our website; closed-captioning is available on YouTube.
Previous Episodes:

  • Warwick Anderson discusses the differences between how race science was practiced in the Global South and how it was practiced in North America and Europe.
  • Christa Kuljian shares her research on the field of paleoanthropology in South Africa and how ideas about racial hierarchies influenced its founding and development.
  • Elise Burton analyzes the development of genetics, race science, and race concepts in the contemporary Middle East.
  • Sebastián Gil-Riaño examines how scientific articulations of human diversity have been used to both legitimize and confront notions of race and racism in the modern world.
  • Sadiah Qureshi recounts the history of human exhibitions in nineteenth-century Britain, and tells us how these shows contributed to the formation of the discipline of anthropology.
  • Rana Hogarth talks about her work on “medicalized” blackness in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, and how African-Americans pushed back against this endeavor.
  • John Jackson discusses the impact of nineteenth-century race science on twentieth-century scientific investigation, the challenge to race science made by population genetics and anthropology, and the ways in which the pseudoscience of race continues to inform twenty-first century debates.