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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.103

Anthropologists' and Biologists' Views on Race


  • Dr. Katarzyna A. KASZYCKA

Primary authors


Race, once the core concept in physical anthropology, is currently being rejected by an ever growing number of anthropologists in the United States (85 percent in 2013). In Poland, at the beginning of the 21st century, the concept of race was rejected by only 25 percent of professional physical anthropologists. Between 2013–2014 the academic community (professors and students) in biology, cultural anthropology, and a group of biological anthropologists were surveyed to assess their current views on race. Apart from the question on the existence or non-existence of races in humans, we gathered and analyzed opinions on: supposed racial characteristics by which races differ from one another, the number of races people can be divided into, whether race is a concept that is needed in science, what the term 'race' should symbolize today, and whether participants were familiar with the term 'social race'. The survey data show, on the one hand, that the belief in human races is generally shared by the Polish academic community: race was accepted by three-fourths of cultural anthropologists and four-fifths of biologists. On the other hand, an awareness of the non-existence of races in our species became visible among a group of young adepts of biological anthropology. It is suggested that general persistence of racial thinking about human variation is, to a large extent, a consequence of the homogeneous character of Polish society, educational factors, and lack of scientific debate over race.