ANSO Tuesday Seminars
Ann Morning

An Ugly Word: Rethinking Race in Italy and the United States

Ann Morning, New York University Arts & Science
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Room S5, Maison de la paix, Geneva Graduate Institute

The ANSO Tuesday Seminar series is organized by the Anthropology and Sociology department at the Institute to discuss global questions from ethnographically-informed perspectives.

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An Ugly Word: Rethinking Race in Italy and the United States

Scholars often assume there is a significant gap between the ways that Americans and Europeans think about race. According to this view, in the U.S. race is associated with physical characteristics, while in Western Europe race has disappeared, and discrimination is based on insurmountable cultural differences. However, little research has addressed how everyday Americans and Europeans actually think and talk about race. In An Ugly Word, sociologists Ann Morning and Marcello Maneri compare U.S. and Italian understandings of descent-based difference and propose a new framework for studying such concepts across national borders.

About the Speaker

Ann Morning is the Divisional Dean for Social Sciences, Vice Dean for Global and Strategic Initiatives, and James Weldon Johnson Professor of Sociology in New York University’s Faculty of Arts and Science. A member of NYU Abu Dhabi’s Affiliated Faculty, she served as Academic Director of 19 Washington Square North, NYUAD’s home in New York, from 2019 to 2022. Trained in demography, her research focuses on race, ethnicity, and the sociology of science, especially as they pertain to census classification worldwide and to individuals’ concepts of difference.  She is the author of The Nature of Race: How Scientists Think and Teach about Human Difference (University of California Press 2011) and An Ugly Word: Rethinking Race in Italy and the United States (with Marcello Maneri, Russell Sage 2022). Morning was a 2008-09 Fulbright Research Fellow at the University of Milan-Bicocca, a 2014-15 Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation in New York, and a 2019 Visiting Professor at the Institut d’Études Politiques (Sciences Po) in Paris. She was a member of the U.S. Census Bureau’s National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations from 2013 to 2019 and has consulted on ethnoracial statistics for the European Commission, the United Nations, the World Bank Group, and Elsevier. She was also a member of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2022-23 Committee on the Use of Race, Ethnicity, and Ancestry as Population Descriptors in Genomics Research. Morning holds her B.A. in Economics and Political Science magna cum laude from Yale University, a Master’s of International Affairs from Columbia University, and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University.



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