UMass Amherst professor’s Honors College lecture spotlights history of race and science

UMass Amherst professor’s Honors College lecture spotlights history of race and science
Britt Rusert
UMass Amherst Professor Britt Rusert spoke to Honors College students about her new book, "Fugutive Science," which explores how science was used as a tool to justify and refute racist ideologies in the years leading up to the Civil War.

A group of Honors College students gathered in Oak View Hall this week for a visit from Britt Rusert, assistant Professor in the W. E. B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst 

 

Rusert talked about her newly published book, Fugitive Science: Empiricism and Freedom in Early African American Culture. The book chronicles the dynamic ways in which African Americans challenged the racist science that was used to justify white supremacist ideology during the pre-Civil War era in the U.S.

 

The book also sheds light on the interest that blacks had in science, despite being mostly excluded from scientific training at the time. According to Rusert, many 19th-century black intellectuals saw science as a means to refute white supremacist arguments and promote social justice.