“Everyone is African: How Science Explodes the Myth of Race” will be the subject of a Texas A&M University-Texarkana Program for Learning and Community Engagement keynote lecture by author and research geneticist Dr. Daniel Fairbanks on Thursday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. in Eagle Hall of the University Center on the A&M-Texarkana campus at 7101 University Ave., Texarkana, Texas.
Dr. Fairbanks is an accomplished scientist, artist, author and teacher. He currently is dean of Science and Health at Utah Valley University, and has been a professor at the University of Massachusetts–Amherst, Southern Virginia University, Brigham Young University and Fulbright professor at the Universidade Estadual de Londrina in Brazil.
He is a geneticist with a wide breadth of expertise in evolutionary genetics, international scientific development, science education and the history of genetics. His most recent book is “Everyone Is African,” published in 2015 by Prometheus Books. Other books include “Evolving: The Human Effect and Why It Matters,” “Ending the Mendel-Fisher Controversy,” “ Relics of Eden: The Powerful Evidence of Evolution in Human DNA” and “Genetics: The Continuity of Life.”
His research articles have appeared in a wide variety of journals, among them Genetics, BMC Evolutionary Biology, Genome, Theoretical and Applied Genetics, Evolution: Education and Outreach, and Science Education. He is among the leading authorities on the history of genetics, specializing on the legacies connecting Gregor Mendel, Charles Darwin and Ronald Fisher.
Having been raised in a family of four generations of artists, Dr. Fairbanks is also a professional artist with commissioned work in sculpture, painting and drawing on permanent exhibit in museum, public and private collections in the United States, Europe and Latin America, and published book illustrations.
His book, “Evolving,” is lavishly illustrated with his hand-drawn and computer-generated images. As a sculptor, he apprenticed in Italy in the studios of Franco Cervietti and Guiseppe Giannoni, and studied with renowned American sculptors Tuck Langland, David Klass and his grandfather Avard Fairbanks. His diverse talents in art and science merge through artistic human anatomy, scientific illustration and forensic sculpture. He studied sculptural facial reconstruction at the Brookgreen Center for American Sculpture with Roy Paschal, and is currently working on anthropological facial reconstructions of skulls from Moche excavations in Peru with anthropologist Haagen Klaus.
Dr. Fairbanks uses his skills as an artist to promote scientific awareness and education through sculpture demonstration lectures highlighting science at universities, museums and other public venues, among them Yale, Villanova, University of Colorado, University of Utah and the University of Massachusetts.
“Examining our genetic differences and similarities, Dr. Fairbanks scientifically explains how humans of all races are strikingly similar,” said Dr. Michael Perri, chair of the PLACE Committee at A&M-Texarkana. “His book discredits transitional notions that race denotes significant differences between us. Instead, the evidence in our DNA shows that our origins come from a common human family whose homeland was in Africa. Genetically, we are all closely related; we are all members of the same human family.”
PLACE is a faculty-led program designed to create a community of learners comprising A&M-Texarkana students, faculty, staff and the community at large. PLACE chooses an annual theme around which to organize a lecture series and other activities that provide focal points for learning and discussion.
The event is free and open to the public. The A&M-Texarkana Office of First Year Experience will provide copies of Dr. Fairbanks’ book, “Everyone is African,” to the first 50 attendees.
Future PLACE events include the following:
· Wednesday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. – Dr. Corrine Hinton – SuperLecture, “‘God decreed it so’: The Rhetoric of Destiny in 1963” – University Center 210
· Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2:30-3:45 p.m. – Dr. Doug Julien SuperLecture, “Digitally Mapping Race in Texarkana” – University Center 210
· Tuesday, Nov. 1, 6-10 p.m. – Screening and Discussion with Dr. Drew Morton – “Do the Right Thing” – University Center 210
· Tuesday, Nov. 8, 1:30-3 p.m. – Dr. Kevin Ells – SuperLecture, “Verifying Sources in Science Reporting or How NOT to Broadcast about Race” – University Center 210
· Thursday, Nov. 17, 7-9 p.m. – Dr. Leo Chavez – “The Latino Threat: Constructing Immigrants, Citizens, and the Nation” – Eagle Hall, University Center