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Adam Rutherford - The invention of race

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Adam Rutherford

People are different, and we can all see that easily. But the racial categories that we continue to embrace are not innate or immutable.

They are inventions of the 18th century, born of European expansion, colonialism and widespread scientific racism. The birth of biology was not simply in parallel with these political ideologies, but in service of them.

Today, however, modern genetics has completely dismantled the biological concept of race, and can – and should – be used as a weapon to combat bigotry, racism and prejudice.

Dr Adam Rutherford is a geneticist, writer, and broadcaster. His background is in genetics and evolution, having gained his PhD from UCL, where he now teaches and has since been awarded an Honorary Fellowship.

Adam is a prolific author, having written eight books centred around genetics, eugenics, and other areas of popular science. He has authored two Sunday Times Bestsellers: his 2020 release How to Argue with a Racist, and Rutherford and Fry’s Complete Guide to Everything (co-authored with Hannah Fry).

Adam’s latest book Control: The dark past and troubling present of Eugenics was published in early 2022 and has since been adapted into BBC Radio 4’s Bad Blood.

A regular voice on Radio 4, as well as Bad Blood, Adam currently hosts The Curious Cases of Rutherford and Fry alongside Hannah Fry. He often features on other shows, having made multiple guest appearances on The Infinite Monkey Cage and guest presented Start The Week (2022).

This event will be taking place in SAL001 at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford.

Photo credit: Stefan Oboski

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