With my CST funding, I designed a course that explores how U.S. law and public policy have been shaped by scientific renderings of racial, class, gendered, and sexual categories from the nineteenth century to the present. In drawing parallels between the early industrial age and our modern biotech-dominated one, students interrogated the validity and ethics of ancestry DNA testing, cutting-edge studies in population genetics, and neuroanatomical studies of transgender brains and genome wide-association investigations into the etiology of sexual orientation. CST’s funding and mentorship program placed me into conversation with scholars in human genetics, public health, and the history of race science as I designed the course, as well as funded in-class presentations by two scholars from these fields. Going forward, I now have a template for how to bridge legal studies, social science, and STEM fields in the context of an upper-level or seminar course.

Student Statements:

"I really enjoyed this class and it has impacted my worldview; throughout the semester, I found myself being more cautious about the scientific information presented to me in my everyday life. It became easier to see patterns where scientific narratives about identity and difference were at play."

"This was a really interesting course and I think it brings a much–needed alternate perspective on race and identity to the Politics department. I would definitely recommend this course to students in the department or anyone looking to think critically about whether or not science is as unbiased as we like to think it is."

"This class did push me to think differently about a lot of information I had always just taken for granted...I learned so much more than I thought I would about the history of politics as a discipline, and the ways that so much of our commonly held beliefs are structured by indefinite science."