Bard College Berlin Presents
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Guest Lecture: "Two Visions of Race in Modern Thought"

Bard College Berlin, Lecture Hall Platanenstrasse 98a, 13156 Berlin

Justin E. H. Smith (Université Paris-Diderot)

On September 27, 2017 Bard College Berlin has the pleasure to welcome Justin E. H. Smith (Université Paris-Diderot) for the guest lecture "Populations and Generations: Two Visions of Race in Modern Thought."

Until the late 17th century, 'race' generally designated a lineage, extended in time across generations, and united, as G. W. Leibniz described it, like the links of a chain. In 1684 the French materialist philosopher François Bernier published his 'New Division of the Earth', which purported to classify the basic subtypes of the human species along biogeographical lines, ignoring altogether the question of lineage. Over the course of the 18th century, there were two competing visions of race: one that anchored it in physiology, anchoring physiology in turn in climate and region, and one that preserved the earlier account of race as ancestry. What were the deeper reasons for this divergence? And what, in particular, does it have to do with the history of racism? In this talk we will seek to get closer to an understanding of these two questions.

Justin E. H. Smith is professor of the history and philosophy of science at the Université Paris Diderot - Paris 7. He is the author of Nature, Human Nature, and Human Difference: Race in Early Modern Philosophy (Princeton University Press, 2015), as well as of The Philosopher: A History in Six Types (Princeton, 2016), and Divine Machines: Leibniz and the Sciences of Life (Princeton, 2011).

Admission free

Contact information:

Location: Bard College Berlin, Lecture Hall Platanenstrasse 98a, 13156 Berlin

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