Sculpture garden

Anti-Racist Reading Groups

Quarterly Explorations

Each quarter, the UC Davis College of Biological Science offers student-led courses that explore anti-racist themes through guided discussions about a curated list of books, films, podcasts and more. We have also provided resources for starting to explore these topics on your own or with family, friends, and peers.

Where to Start

From "UC Davis STEM Faculty Resource Guide  - For Faculty Starting to Learn about Equity, Inclusion, Justice and Anti Racism"

Spring 2022 - MCB 198

Cover of “Medical Apartheid book

MCB 198: Systemic Bias in Bioethics

In this course, we will read and discuss selected chapters from the award-winning book, “Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present” by Harriet Washington while working through prominent case studies of racism and systemic bias in bioethics throughout American history (e.g., the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiments, antebellum medical experimentation on enslaved Black women, radiation experiments on Black Americans, etc.). We will explicitly frame our discussions through an anti-racist lens, and weigh the human costs of perpetuating systemic bias and injustice in American healthcare in modern times.

This course is open to upper division undergraduate students, and can be audited by graduate students, postdocs, faculty, and staff. Students taking the course for credit are required to colead the discussion for one lecture period. If you want to be included on the Canvas site as an auditor but do not plan to enroll, please email Vicky with your request.

Instructors: Victoria (Vicky) Watson-Zink and Alexus Roberts
Time: Thursdays 1:10 – 2:00PM
First Meeting: March 31, 2022 via Zoom (link posted on course Canvas site)
Grading Option: S/U (1-credit)

To receive the course CRN, or if acquiring a copy of the book would be a financial hardship for you, please email Vicky (vmmorgan@ucdavis.edu).

Winter 2021 - MCB 298

Book cover

MCB 298: An Abbreviated History of Systemic Bias in Bioethics

In this course, we will read and critically discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, and also work through prominent case studies of racism and systemic bias in bioethics throughout American history (e.g., the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Harvard University birth control trials on Puerto Rican women, racial disparities in Black maternal healthcare, etc.). We will explicitly frame our discussions through an anti-racist lens, and weigh the human cost of perpetuating systemic bias in American healthcare.

Instructors: Victoria Morgan, Graduate Assistant to the Dean; Mark Winey, Dean; Ted Powers, Executive Associate Dean
First Meeting: Wednesday, January 6, 2021 via Zoom from 11:00 – 11:50am

Winter 2021 - PBG 270

book cover for caste by isabel wilkerson

PBG 270: Evolutionary Perspective on "Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents"

We plan to read and discuss excerpts from Isabel Wilkerson’s best-selling book alongside supplementary readings from the primary literature that explore the concept of caste in human societies, social insects and other non-human systems. We will explore whether ecological and evolutionary theory can help us understand the multiple meanings of the term, and guide us to reducing its impact on human societies and cultures.

Instructors: Rick Grosberg and Victoria Morgan
First Meeting: Monday, January 4, 2021 from 12:10 - 1:00PM

 

Summer 2021 - Reading Group

Stamped from the Beginning book cover

Summer 2021

In this reading group, we will read and discuss chapters from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s New York Times bestselling book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which addresses how “anti-Black thinking has entrenched itself in the fabric of American society not solely through ignorance, but through a rationalization of inequity in institutional practices” (The Atlantic). This reading group is open to all UC Davis students, faculty, staff, and affiliates. Please email Vicky (vmmorgan@ucdavis.edu) to be added to our email list and to receive the weekly Zoom meeting information.

“Stamped from the Beginning is a history of how racist ideas are built, and how they are built to last. Understanding this history is essential if we want to have any hope of progress. This book will forever change the way we think about race.” -Touré, MSNBC contributor and author of Who’s Afraid of Post-Blackness

“An accomplished history of racist thought and practice in the United States from the Puritans to the present … in this tour de force, Kendi explores the history of racist ideas -- and their connection with racist practices -- across American history … Racism is the enduring scar on the American consciousness. In this ambitious, magisterial book, Kendi reveals just how deep that scar cuts and why it endures, its barely subcutaneous pain still able to flare.” -Kirkus Reviews

Discussion Facilitator: Victoria (Vicky) Watson-Zink
Time: Fridays from 12 - 1:00 PM Meeting
Dates: July 23, 2021 - September 10, 2021 via Zoom