Grossmont College Biological

For each of the three concepts below, please provide a brief definition explaining the meaning of the concept.

For each concept, please provide an example from our course materials that helps to illustrate what the term means/why it is significant.

Readings, lectures, slides, clips/documentaries are all fair game for use as examples.

1.) Biopower

2.) Social Health Gradient/Social Health Ladder

3.) Eugenics

Part Two: Short Answer.

After taking time to reflect upon our course materials and discussions so far, please compose a critical response to the following prompt.

Please be sure to address all portions of the prompt.

In responding, please include at least two examples from our course materials that help elaborate, explain or otherwise illustrate the answer you are providing.

Approximate Length: 3-5 Paragraphs

In-text citations/quotations are not required but are you are welcome to use them.

If direct quotes or paraphrases are included, please include brief citation information

(e.g. last name, page number).

A separate works cited page is not required.

Please use 12pt. Times New Roman font and double-spaced paragraphs.

Please remember to insert page numbers and a header with full name.

Short Answer Prompt (Just One Prompt To ‘Choose’ This Time.

1.) We have been spending a significant amount of time this past week considering the concept and approach of biological determinism/essentialism in relation to a series of social identities, categories, and experiences including gender, sex, and race.

First, please identify what biological determinism as an approach to social explanation means – how might we define this concept?

What are the assumptions and the logic/reasoning that guide biological determinist arguments?

Next, please consider what real or potential consequences might result from applying a biological determinist approach to the study of race, ethnicity, sex and/or gender.

Finally, please identify real and potential critiques that have been or might be made with respect to biological determinist arguments? (Hint: Considering social constructionist understandings of categories/classifications may be helpful here).


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Grossmont College Biological

As we think about how science relates to society, we’re going to encounter arguments that might be roughly grouped together under the label ‘biological determinism.’ We’ll be exploring this concept – including a series of critiques of the concept – in detail in this and the coming weeks. Let’s get started by thinking carefully about the following questions

1. What might it mean to say that an individual is determined by their biology? Or that someone is essentially who and how they are due to biological characteristics?

2. What role does biology play in relation to society? What role does society play in relation to biology? In other words, does biology influence society? Does society influence biology? How, exactly?

3.Can we think of examples where biology is used to explain individual behaviors and social relations? That is, can we think of examples where society is explained by reference to biology? Do we find such examples persuasive? Yes? No? Maybe? it depends?

4. Can we think of critiques of using a biological determinist approach to understanding people and society?

A related series of questions that we will begin considering this week concern the ‘big picture’ concept of classification/categorization – how individuals and groups of individuals come to be grouped into certain ‘boxes’ (for better or for worse) in terms of gender, sex, sexuality, race, ethnicity, etc. Processes of categorization/classification lead us to ask a number of questions.

What might it mean to suggest that gender is socially constructed? How does thinking of gender in terms of social construction compare with the logic of biological determinism that we’ve begun to discuss?

What about race? What might it mean to suggest that race is socially constructed?

In scientific, medical, and other (e.g. legal) contexts, folks are often categorized. What do these classification or categorization schema do?

In particular, what scientific purpose(s) do they serve? Do forms of classification based on gender or race serve beneficial ends? Harmful ends? Both? Neither? It depends?

How might attending to multiple intersecting variables (i.e. race/gender/class) inform particular STEM research projects and/or practical applications/interventions?

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