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Week of February 4, 2013

Exhibition explores many perspectives of race; opens Feb. 9

Throughout history, racial and ethnic differences have been a source of community strength and personal identity. Yet those differences also have been the basis for discrimination and oppression.

The many perspectives of “race” are at the heart of “Race: Are we so different?” developed by the American Anthropological Association in collaboration with the Science Museum of Minnesota.

The first national exhibition to tell the stories of race from the biological, cultural, and historical points of view will be on display from Feb. 9 through May 27 at the U-M Museum of Natural History, 1109 Geddes Ave.

The exhibit explores historically the ways used to describe racial differences, and the distorted rationalizations to justify mistreatment of people and even genocide. In a compelling presentation, the exhibit offers a contemporary scientific understanding of human variation that challenges notions of racial differences, and even the very concept of race.

Prior to the opening, Yolanda T. Moses and Lester P. Monts will discuss the exhibit and encourage a broad exploration and discussion of race. The conversation begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Kahn Auditorium, Taubman Biomedical Science Research Building.

Moses, professor of anthropology and special assistant to the chancellor for excellence and diversity at the University of California, Riverside, is past president of the American Anthropological Association. She is co-author of “Race: Are we so different?”

Monts is U-M senior vice provost for academic affairs, senior counselor to the president for the arts, diversity and undergraduate affairs, and Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Music.

The talk between Moses and Monts is the 2013 William R. Farrand Annual Endowed Lecture and is co-sponsored by U-M’s Author’s Forum and the Department of Anthropology. The Author’s Forum is a collaboration among the University Library, the Institute for the Humanities, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, and the Ann Arbor Book Festival.

“Race: Are we so different?” is a central part of U-M’s Understanding Race Project, an audience-engagement initiative including the campuswide, winter term Understanding Race Theme Semester, centered in LSA. The theme semester includes participation by all 10 public school districts in Washtenaw County, and extensive involvement by community members, nonprofits, government agencies, and other groups.

The Ann Arbor display of “Race: Are we so different?” is made possible by support from the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation, Ann Arbor Public Schools, LSA, David & Andrea Scott, Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, Institute for the Humanities, LSA Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education, National Center for Institutional Diversity, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and Washtenaw Intermediate School District.

U-M’s Museum of Natural History is open 9 a.m.-5 pm. Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., and noon-5 p.m. Sundays.

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STAFF SPOTLIGHT

Heidi Kumao, an associate professor of art at the Stamps School of Art & Design, on what she can’t live without: “A camera. As an artist, it’s my tool for looking at the world in a creative and open way.” 

EVENTS

“From Aristotle to O’Neill: Western Influence on Cao Yu,” 4 p.m. Feb. 8, North Campus Research Complex, Building 18 dining hall.

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