Past Event

Projit Mukharji - Religion as Race: Geneticizing Religious Difference in South Asia, 1947 -1971

December 9, 2020
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
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Event Description: 

Historians and sociologists of science such as Veronika Lipphardt, Jenny Bangham, Dorothy Roberts, Troy Duster and many others have extensively documented how the rise of genetics has re-biologized understandings of human difference. They point out that rhetorical attempts to distinguish pre- and post-War biological studies did not in fact displace racial frameworks. Rather, such understandings were often carried forward and even intensified the scientific production of racialized knowledge. Anthropologist Yulia Egorova has documented the nexus between race and genetics in contemporary India. But South Asian scientists and research subjects were part of this braided history of race and genetics from its very beginnings in the interwar era. The postcolonial period however, witnessed an unprecedented intensification of such projects. Such racialization usually worked by providing new genetic rationales for select forms of social or cultural differentiation. One such form of difference that came to be racialized via the new genetic science was religious difference. In this discussion, Mukharji will discuss these studies, their institutional moorings, intellectual underpinnings, operational logics and, most importantly, their political stakes.

Event Speaker

Projit Mukharji, Associate Professor of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennsylvania 

Event Information: 

This event is free and open to the public, RSVP is required. Zoom link will be sent to all registered attendees. Please contact [email protected] with any questions. 

This event is part of the New York History of Science Lecture Series.

Sponsoring Organizations:

  • The University Seminars at Columbia University
  • Columbia University in the City of New York
  • NYU Gallatin School of Individualized Study
  • The Graduate Center, City University of New York
  • The New York Academy of Medicine
  • The New York Academy of Sciences