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Beyond RaceJoelle Presson and Jan Jenner

Beyond Race

Human Biological Diversity (Revised Third Edition)
By Joelle Presson and Jan Jenner

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62661-364-5, 448 pages


Race. It’s an idea that dominates our culture and continues to generate societal tensions. But what really are human races? Are races meaningful in a biological sense? What is the significance of the variety of human skin and hair colors? Are black, white, Asian, and Native American valid categories that reflect basic human differences?

Beyond Race: Human Biological Diversity answers these questions and provides the most recent scientific studies on human genetic groups and on the origins of the human family tree. Prepare to see racial stereotypes challenged as Beyond Race: Human Biological Diversity integrates basic biological knowledge with current understanding of human genetics, evolution, and human variation. Beyond Race allows students to view humanity through the lens of modern biology and re-evaluate society’s traditional ideas about human races. Exciting new findings about human evolution are presented along with DNA analyses that have revised our understanding of human history. In this context the reader will reflect on race and how racial distinctions have influenced society's attitude to and treatment of different groups of people.

Beyond Race begins with discussions of the concepts that are the foundation of biology. These foundations provide the basic biological context that is essential to a genuine understanding of the current revolution in the study of human relationships. Coverage of Darwin’s principles, evolution, biological classification, the emergence of life from chemistry, cell reproduction, and genetics lead to a sophisticated appreciation of DNA lineages. The reader will find all of this invaluable in navigating the modern world of genetic and ancestry testing. The study of genomics also is central to understanding human biological diversity and is woven into the content of Beyond Race.

As a result of this comprehensive and integrated coverage, students will learn that the separation of humans into “races” is not biologically valid and that the idea of race can now be replaced with the concept of a more accurately detailed human family tree. The primary goal of Beyond Race is not to give students simple answers to complex questions concerning race, but rather to enable them to draw their own conclusions about the value of continuing to use “races” as labels for human beings.

Sections entitled Threads… begin each chapter and link the readings to real-world events that are already familiar to students. They demonstrate the clear, vital, critically important connections between the science studied in the classroom and life on a broader stage. Of special note are the Now You Can Understand, What Do You Think?, and Chapter Review sections that conclude each chapter. These offer opportunities for reflection and synthesis, reinforce important ideas and concepts, and enhance student retention of the material. Additional Reading, a short annotated bibliography that closes each chapter, links chapter content to a broader pool of intellectual resources.

Beyond Race: Human Biological Diversity is designed for use in courses on Human Biology and Genetics.

Joelle Presson earned her B.S. in Psychology from the University of South Florida and her Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Oregon. Currently she teaches at the University of Maryland, where she focuses on teaching biology to non-majors. Her other course offerings have included Introductory Biology for majors in the field, upper-level Neurophysiology, and Neuropharmacology. In addition to teaching, Dr. Presson serves as the Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Academic Programs in the College of Chemical and Life Sciences, working to develop the curriculum within Biology, as well as across other disciplines.
Jan Jenner earned her Ph.D. in Biology from New York University, studying herpetology under the mentorship of Herndon Dowling. Dr. Jenner's previous professional experience includes serving on the faculty at New York University, where she taught Introductory Biology, Field Biology, and Ecology to more than 300 students each semester. During her time at NYU, Dr. Jenner was the recipient of two teaching awards. She has also taught at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, St. David's School in New York, and Talladega College, Alabama. Dr. Jenner has written several biology textbooks for middle school students, served as an author and developmental editor for numerous educational publications, and authored two college-level biology texts.

Other Cognella titles by Joelle Presson:

Other Cognella titles by Jan Jenner: