, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 420–446 | Cite as

Race and IQ in the postgenomic age: The microcephaly case

  • Sarah S Richardson
Original Article


A convergence of contextual factors, technological platforms and research frameworks in the genomics of the human brain and cognition has generated a new postgenomic model for the study of race and IQ. Centered on the case study of Bruce T. Lahn's 2005 claims about the genomic basis of racial differences in brain size and IQ, this article maps the disciplinary terrain of this research, analyzes its central claims and examines the rigor of critical debate within the genomics community about new race and IQ research. New postgenomic race and IQ research, while displaying some continuities with previous eras of racial science, also differs in important ways, both contextual and conceptual. In particular, this new research draws on methods and hypotheses that are widely accepted across many fields of the contemporary molecular genetic sciences. This has implications for the forms of critical engagement that science studies scholars might pursue.


evolutionary cognitive genetics genomics human population genetics neurogenetics race IQ 



This article arises from a collaboration with Jacob Metcalf. I greatly benefitted from our conversations and exchanges, although any errors are my own. Thanks also to Jennifer Hamilton, Ju Yon Kim, Alondra Nelson, Aaron Panofsky and Quayshawn Spencer for valuable comments.


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Copyright information

© The London School of Economics and Political Science 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah S Richardson
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of the History of ScienceCambridgeUSA

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