You’ve probably heard someone say “race is a social construct, not biology.” What exactly does that mean? How are we to understand the relation between race and human biological difference? How exactly is race “constructed,” and what does that have to do with legacies of slavery, racism, privilege, and power? This course tackles these questions from the perspectives of biological and cultural anthropology. In the first part, we examine patterns of human biological variation and critically examine how these patterns compare to conventional ideas about race. The second part traces the origins of the race concept and explores the links between race, science, and everyday life. The third part examines the experience and consequences of racism in the United States and in other societies. By the end of the course, you will be able not only to explain the mantra that “race is a social construct” but also to engage contemporary debates about race and racism in a critical and informed manner.