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Grad Students

Iris I. Clever



Contact Information

Email    irisclever@ucla.edu
Office  6265 Bunche Hall

I work on the cultural history of science and bodies, with a strong investment in critical theory (race, gender, data) and historiography. 

My current project explores the historical relationship between race, data, and biometry in the 19th and 20th century. Through the archival study of racial research and data practices, I show how biometricians in Britain and the United States challenged traditional anthropological practices of studying skulls and races with a turn to quantification. With novel statistical formulas and instruments that turned morphological race into data templates, biometricians aimed to automate racial research and make it more “objective.” Ultimately, my project explores to what extent racial bias was built into these methods and instruments and how they have developed and persisted over time.

CV available upon request 

Fields of Study

History of Science and Medicine

Research

My current project explores the historical relationship between race, data, and biometry in the 19th and 20th century. Through the archival study of racial research and data practices, I show how biometricians in Britain and the United States challenged traditional anthropological practices of studying skulls and races with a turn to quantification. With novel statistical formulas and instruments that turned morphological race into data templates, biometricians aimed to automate racial research and make it more “objective.” Ultimately, my project explores to what extent racial bias was built into these methods and instruments and how they have developed and persisted over time.

Publications

Iris Clever, "Book Review: 'Measuring the Master Race' by Jon Royne Kyllingstad," JRAI 24:1 (2018) 204-205.

Iris Clever, “Book Review: ‘Constructing Race’ by Tracy Teslow,” History of Anthropology Newsletter 40, no. 1 (2016).

I. Clever and W.G. Ruberg, "Beyond Cultural History? The Material Turn, Praxiography, and Body History," Humanities 3 (2014) 546-566."

Grants and Awards

2017-2019. E.J. Brandenburg Research Fund

2018. American Philosophical Society Library Fellowship

2017. CERS Dissertation Research Fellowship

2016. Peter Reill Summer Research Travel Stipend

2015. Research Fellow Max Planck Institute for the History of Science 

2015. Benjamin Nickoll Summer Research Travel Stipend

Conference Presentations

Scheduled talks:

“Tiresome anthropometric affairs.” Standardization efforts in the history of physical anthropology, 1880-1950," to be presented at: ISHPSSB Biennial Meeting. Oslo, July 8th 2019.

"Skulls and Statistics. Karl Pearson and Competing Methods of Classifying Races in the Early 20th Century," to be presented at: History of Science Society Annual Meeting. Utrecht, July 24th 2019. 

Past talks: 

“Unwieldy Calipers: How an Instrument Survived the 20th Century.” Transnational Conversations: Scientists and the Big Questions of Twentieth-Century History. Forum Transregionale Studien, Berlin, 25 June 2018. 

“Reinventing the Caliper: Transforming Physical Anthropological Practices after World War II.” American Association for the History of Medicine Annual Meeting. Los Angeles, 10-13 May 2018.  

"Franz Boas, Statistics, and Intra-Populational Variation." American Philosophical Society Brown Bag Talk. Philadelphia, 3 April 2018. 

“What do Jean-Louis Baudelocque, Paul Broca, and Jack Tanner Have in Common? A Long History of the Caliper.” History of Science Graduate Student Meeting SoCal. UC Santa Barbara, 9 December 2017. 

“Finding a Formula for Race. Quantifying Racial Differences in Early Twentieth Century Physical Anthropology,” Histories of Anthropology: Transforming Knowledge and Power (1870-1970). University of Cambridge, 18-19 September 2017

“The Anthropological Politics of Scientific Universalism. Standardization in Anthropometry and Miriam Tildesley’s International Standardization Committee (1928-1945),” History of Anthropology Conference: the rise of university departments 1918-1945. Royal Anthropological Institute, London, 13-14 December 2016.

“Finding Unity in Anthropometry. The Establishment of the International Standardization Committee (1928-1934).” Symposium Body History Seminar: Paper Technologies. Utrecht University, 29 August 2016.

Advisors

Dr. Soraya de Chadarevian (chair)
Dr. Theodore Porter
Dr. Andrew Apter
Dr. Lynn Hunt

Degrees

M.A. History, Utrecht University, 2013.
B.A. History, Utrecht University, 2011.