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Sebastián Gil-Riaño Reading Group – Mellon Sawyer Seminar on “Race, Empire, and the Environments of Biomedicine”

June 1, 2023 @ 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm  |  Humanities 1, Room 210


“Indigenous Health and Infrastructures of Race” – In the past few decades, biomedical researchers and human biologists have called for more ethical guidelines for conducting fieldwork on Indigenous groups in South America. Included among these proposals is a call for greater “epidemiological surveillance” of remote Indigenous groups with the aim of reducing health disparities. This bioethical concern is driven by an understanding of colonial history, which presumes that without biomedical intervention Indigenous groups inevitably succumb to European diseases upon contact. In this reading group, we will explore how such bioethical narratives are themselves a product of a deep-seated colonial project that Daniel Nemser has called “the Infrastructures of Race.”

Email Jennifer Derr at for a copy of the readings.

Prof. Gil RimanoSebastián Gil-Riaño is an Assistant Professor of History and Sociology of Science at the University of Pennyslvania. Born in Colombia and raised in Canada, he is a historian of science who studies transnational scientific conceptions of race, culture, and indigeneity in the twentieth century. His first book, The Remnants of Race Science: UNESCO and Economic Development in the Global South will be published by Columbia University Press on August 31st, 2023.

This event is part of the “Race, Empire, and the Environments of Biomedicine” Sawyer Seminar series.


June 1, 2023
12:15 pm - 1:45 pm


Humanities 1, Room 210
1156 high st
Santa cruz, CA 95060 United States
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