Speaking of Science: Anthropology and the Brilliance of Boas

Monday, February 27, 2017 -
6:30pm to 8:00pm
Adler Study - Room 514
Suggested donation: Members $5, Guests $10

With Alan McGowan

We’ll focus on the groundbreaking scientific achievements and the progressive political views of Franz Boas. With his 1881 doctorate in physics and his interest in geography, Boas became an anthropologist after studying the culture of natives of northern Canada. Continuing his studies in the US, he became a professor of anthropology at Columbia University. Known for his opposition to the notion of racial superiority, his research and studies brought brilliant new insight to cultural and physical anthropology and linguistics.

Alan McGowan, former chair of the Environmental Studies Program at The New School, as well as of the Science, Technology and Society Program there, is finishing a book on Franz Boas. He is very active in the non-profit world, serving as chair of the governance and legal committee of the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences, and chair emeritus of Student Pugwash, USA, an organization devoted to the ethical uses of scientific information. He is also an Executive Editor of Environment magazine. He is a member of the "Slavery and Memory" seminar at Columbia University, and has written extensively on the intersection of science and politics. Upon retiring as Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Science at the New School, he became a Lecturer there, and helps to run the Environmental Scholars in Alaska Program.