Today was the first day of a new course at Stockholm University. A course on racism, or the history behind racism, and the evolution of the idea that the concept rests on. It is a Ph.D. course, organized by Dept. History at Stockholm University, and aimed at Ph.D. students. This is a test balloon we are sending up, it is the first year it is provided, and there are seven Ph.D. students who have signed up for it. And we are people from archaeology, osteology, history, medical ethics, philosophy, and other disciplines who are providing the tasks and lectures. The outcome of this year will decide if this is something that will come back in the coming years.
I myself hope not only to be providing a genetic perspective on variation, isolation by distance, phenotypic traits, and other things that may be of interest. I also hope to listen in to the other lectures, to participate in the discussion, and simply to learn as much myself as I am teaching. In my view, we are in terra incognito. While there is much stuff on protecting the individual in medical ethics, and much stuff on protecting the antiquarian material in osteology, there is little on groups, biological populations, and ethnicity. There is simply no ready framework for ethics and ancient DNA, that is something that we are developing as much as we are developing the methods as we go along. And this is why I believe that this course can teach me as much as I can teach the participants in it.
Kurt Villands Jensen lecturing, who came up with the idea for the course