We are all Africans: on race in a genomic age

June 2, 2015Byens Lys Copenhagen
Doors open: 19:00
Start programme: 20:00
Byens Lys
Fabriksområdet 99

What does genetics and genomics teach us about the existence (or not) of racial groups or ethnicities? If someone sequences even a small part of your genome, will they be able to determine your biological and geographical history? How might leftist and rightist political agendas use scientific knowledge about the genetic existence (or not) of races and ethnicities?

All eyes are turned towards genomic data and models as the source of knowledge about whether human races exist or not. Will genomic science make the final determination about how our species is carved into races, or not so carved? Will genetics permit us to trace the lines of ancestry of particular individuals, and does membership in one or more races or ethnicities predict which kinds of psychological properties (e.g., IQ) or physiological diseases or ailments (e.g., cancer) individuals will develop over the course of their lifetime?

Genomic data show that our species is somewhere in between two conceptual opposites: a completely randomly intermixed species, and a species sub-divided into distinct varieties or even sub-species. In technical jargon: 85% of all genetic variation is across individuals found within small groups (e.g., the Zulus, the Sami), and only 15% is across groups. What to make of this data pattern for medical, psychological, and political purposes is controversial. Complex ethical and social questions rear their head.

Afterwards, chilled genomic cocktails while Stankel takes the stage. Stankel’s show includes several solo appearances, scene madness and surprises. The improvisational element mixed with the strictly orchestrated and through-composed elements, served with great musical profits, thus making an evening in the company of Stankel a versatile and in every way an unforgettable experience.

Modern opera buffo that will get your neurons to dance!

Photo: Royal Collection Trust

Talk by

Rasmus Grønfeldt Winther

Associate Professor at University of California, Santa Cruz, in the Department of Philosophy. His research focuses on philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of cartography, political philosophy, ethics, metaphysics and epistemology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science, among others.

Rasmus Winther

Music by


Stankel is an experimental band that plays several different genres, but always with a touch of humor and surprises. In a world filled with mainstream radio a la "music you know", Stankel panders the passive ear. The goal is to cultivate the audience's musical attention and source its ear canals, as well as to maintain the musicians' immediate presence and joy of playing.