Tackling scientific racism

Thursday, 18 June 2020
University of Nottingham to host open discussion with journalist Angela Saini

The murky history of race science and the ways in which it has been resurrected in the 21st century will be explored during a University of Nottingham event featuring journalist and author Angela Saini. 

The open discussion, The Legacy of Scientific Racism – and How We Tackle It: In Conversation with Angela Saini, is being hosted by the University’s BME Staff Network and will take place online at 5pm on Tuesday 23 June and is open to everyone. 

It will see the author discussing her book Superior: The Return of Race Science with Val Watson and Dr Maria Augusta Arruda – the outgoing and incoming chairs of the network.

Angela Saini has been teaching her readers and audiences across the globe the importance of holding science to account. Historically, science has fostered progress but also helped to perpetuate prejudice in general, and racism in particular.
Dr Maria Augusta Arruda

Dr Arruda added: “These discussions are critical to enabling academia to fulfil its fundamental role of contributing to an anti-racist and more equitable society. Val Watson and I, on behalf of the University's BME Staff Network, are delighted to host Angela. We are also very appreciative of the University's leadership support, showing that the University of Nottingham does not shy away from urgent, and sometimes uncomfortable, conversations.”

The discussion will examine how science has been used to further the racist ideologies of the far right from the 1600s to the present day and there will be a focus of the role that race science has played in the context of the current global Black Lives Matter protests. 

Angela Saini is an independent British science journalist and author. She presents radio and television programmes on the BBC and her writing has appeared in The Sunday Times, Nature, New Scientist, National Geographic and Wired. She has won a number of national and international journalism awards. 

Her latest book, Superior: The Return of Race Science, published in 2019 to widespread critical acclaim, was named a book of the year by the Financial Times, Guardian, The Telegraph and Sunday Times and won the Transmission Prize. Her previous book, Inferior: How Science Got Women Wrong, was published in 2017 and has been translated into thirteen languages. She is currently working on her fourth book, to be published in early 2023. 

Professor Sarah Sharples, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and People, said: “I am really pleased that the BME network has worked so quickly to bring this very important event to the University of Nottingham. Our work towards race equality and our discussions with students and staff have told us that we need to accelerate our actions towards increasing the diverse representation amongst our staff and student bodies."

Angela Saini's talk will help us to work together to deliver a more inclusive environment at the University, and I look forward to an engaging and challenging discussion
Professor Sarah Sharples, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion and People

The Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) Network was established by the University of Nottingham for all staff regardless of grade, job family, or contract length to provide a forum for BME staff to network and discuss issues of specific interest to them. 

It acts as a voice for BME staff, provides professional support and information and a means of BME staff to communicate with the wider University about BME issues in relation to its policies and practices. 

More information on how to join this Microsoft Teams event is available here: 

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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage, consistently ranked among the world's top 100. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our 44,000 students - Nottingham was named both Sports and International University of the Year in the 2019 Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, was awarded gold in the TEF 2017 and features in the top 25 of all three major UK rankings. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer, proud of our Athena SWAN silver award, and a key industry partner- locally and globally.

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