This course focuses on the science of human genetic and biological variation. How does variation come about in evolution? Which variations have adaptive and functional significance and which are "just differences"? What is the evolutionary explanation, distribution, and significance of human variation in, for example, sickle cell anemia, skin color and sports performance? How are individuals grouped, how are differences studied, and to what purpose? This semester we will focus on the idea of race as a genetic construct versus lived, social reality and, in particular, how race is used in biomedical research. How did the idea of "natural" races arise, and how and why, despite key scientific flaws, does it persist? Finally we will examine health inequalities by race and the potential mechanisms by which racism may lead to poor health.