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‘Superior: The Return of Race Science’ talk by Angela Saini

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, University of Oxford

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 from 17:30 to 19:00 (BST)

‘Superior: The Return of Race Science’ talk by Angela...

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Angela Saini joins us to discuss her most recent book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, exploring the murky history of race science and the ways in which it is being resurrected in the 21st century. Combining science, history and politics, she explores how race maps out biologically, the abuse of the idea of race, and how those on the far-right are attempting to repackage racism.

This talk will be followed by a drinks reception, book sale and signing. All are welcome.



5:30-6:30pm talk followed by Q&A

6:30-7:00pm drinks reception


Presented by

Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division

BME Staff Network

Women in Engineering, Department of Engineering Sciences 




Angela Saini is an award-winning science journalist, author and broadcaster.

She regularly presents science programmes for the BBC, and her writing has appeared across the world, including in New Scientist, the Guardian, The Times, Science, Cell, Wired, Wallpaper, Vogue, GQ, among others. And she is a contributing editor at Tortoise.

She has a Masters in Engineering from Oxford University, and a second Masters in Science and Security from the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. Between 2012 and 2013 she was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Angela's latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, was published by 4th Estate in May 2019. Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, was published in 2017, winning the Physics World Book of the Year and first runner-up in the Goodreads Choice Awards. It has been translated into eleven languages. Her first, Geek Nation, was published by Hodder & Stoughton in 2011, becoming a bestseller in India.

In 2018 Angela was voted one of the most respected journalists in the UK. In 2015 she won the American Association for the Advancement of Science's Kavli Science Journalism gold award for a BBC Radio 4 documentary about birdsong and human language. In 2012 she won the Association of British Science Writers’ award for a news story in The Guardian about the misuse of statistics in courtrooms. And she was named European Science Journalist of the Year by the Euroscience Foundation in 2009.



SUPERIOR was chosen by the Guardian as one of their top books to look out for in 2019.

For millennia, dominant societies have had the habit of believing their own people to be the best, deep down: the more powerful they become, the more power begins to be framed as natural, as well as cultural. When you see how power has shaped the idea of race, then you can start to understand its meaning. In the twenty-first century, we like to believe that we have moved beyond scientific racism, that most people accept race as a social construct, not a biological one. But race science is experiencing a revival, fuelled by the misuse of science by certain political groups. With genetic testing providing unprecedented detail about human variation and historic migration, many have found themselves asking whether race could indeed be real. Even well-intentioned scientists, through their use of racial categories in genetics and medicine, betray their suspicion that race has some basis in biology. In truth, it is no more real than it was hundreds of years ago, when our racial hierarchies were devised by those in power.

In Superior, award-winning author Angela Saini explores the concept of race, from its origins to the present day. Engaging with geneticists, anthropologists, historians and social scientists from across the globe, Superior is a rigorous, much needed examination of the insidious and destructive nature of race science.

Do you have questions about ‘Superior: The Return of Race Science’ talk by Angela Saini? Contact Mathematical, Physical and Life Sciences Division, University of Oxford

When & Where

Mathematical Institute
Andrew Wiles Building, Radcliffe Observatory Quarter, Woodstock Road
OX2 6GG Oxford
United Kingdom

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 from 17:30 to 19:00 (BST)

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