What does science tell us about race and racism?

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Thursday 19 November

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • People protesting the admission of the 'Little Rock Nine' to Central High School.

    Credit: Buyenlarge via Getty Images


Standard £12

Concession £8

Associate £6

Free to Members, Faraday Members and Fellows

Event description

From Rachel Dolezal to the Charleston church shooting, the subject of race is never far from the headlines. Biological science tells us that ‘races’ may not even be real. but the social sciences tell us that racism certainly is. Can science help us make sense of these undeniably important yet emotive subjects? Writer and broadcaster Adam Rutherford will host a panel of experts including: Richard Crisp, Kenan Malik, Aoife McLysaght and Heidi Mirza for an evidence-based discussion of an always controversial subject.

About the speakers

Heidi Mirza is Professor of Race, Faith & Culture at the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths University. Her work focuses on gender, race, faith and culture using postcolonial and black feminist theoretical frameworks.

Kenan Malik is a writer, lecturer and broadcaster. His latest book is 'The Quest for a Moral Compass: A Global History of Ethics.' He also writes on his blog Pandaemonium, which welcomes debate from anyone. 

Aoife McLysaght is a professor in the Molecular Evolution Lab at the Smurfit Institute of Genetics, Trinity College Dublin. She also spends a lot of time communicating her work to the public, including through an Ri Friday Evening Discourse and videos on the Ri Channel.

Richard Crisp is Professor of Psychology at the Aston Business School and Director of the Aston Behavioural Science Laboratory. His latest book, ‘The Social Brain: How Diversity Made the Modern Mind’, examines new research that reveals hitherto unrealised benefits of living in culturally diverse environments. 


This event will be filmed and availble to watch on the Ri Channel a few weeks afterwards.

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