Race, Genetics, and the 0.1%

7:30PM, Doors at 7PM

Opening the 0.1% program, in conjunction with the launch of the NAVEL x Massive Science 0.1% zine, Associate Professors Dr. Terence Keel and Dr. Aaron Panofsky from the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics present on what it means to have 0.1% of variation between people.

Through their presentation, they will demonstrate how there are multiple ways to think about the percentage of genetic difference, not only within groups, but also between humans and non-humans. They will also speak to contemporary issues surrounding the health implications of genetic difference and the use of scientific data to support white supremacist arguments that are fundamentally unsound.


Aaron Panofsky is Associate Professor in Public Policy and at the Institute for Society and Genetics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining UCLA in January of 2008, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Scholar at UC Berkeley from 2006 through 2007. Panofsky received his Ph.D. in sociology from New York University in 2006. Panofsky’s main research interest is in the sociology of science and knowledge with a special focus on genetics. He recently published his first book, Misbehaving Science: Controversy and the Development of Behavior Genetics (Chicago, 2014) , is an analysis of the causes and consequences of controversy in the field of behavioral genetics. A second major project is investigating how patient advocate groups are seeking to affect the research process in the medical genetics of rare disorders. These and other projects fit with his abiding science policy interests in the governance of science and technology and the relationship between expertise and democracy.

Terence Keel is an Associate Professor with a split appointment in the Department of African American Studies, and the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics. He has written widely about American biomedical science, religion, law, and modern thought. His first book, Divine Variations (Stanford University Press, January 2018) explained how Christian thought made possible the development of the race concept in Euro-American science while also shaping the moral and epistemic commitments embedded in the study of human biology. Keel is currently writing a second book that examines shifting conceptions of society and human identity in the minds of American biologists, New Left critics, and Neoconservatives during the “Culture Wars.” Keel previously taught at UC Santa Barbara where he served as Vice Chair to the Department of History and was the first Black Studies Professor to receive the Harold J. Plous Award. He is an affiliate of the newly formed Center for the Study of Racism, Social Justice & Health under the directorship of Dr. Chandra Ford of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health.

Illustration by Amisha Gadani, created with the support from the UCLA Institute for Society and Genetics