During the creation of RACE—The Power of an Illusion, the production team filmed interviews with dozens of leading scholars on race. Most of this material did not make it into the final 3-hour series, but it remains a rare and valuable intellectual resource, so we've included edited transcripts on this site.

Ira Berlin
What was early colonial Virginia like? How are race and freedom tied together? What is the tension in American history with regard to race?

Ira Berlin (1941-2018) was a Distinguished University Professor of History at the University of Maryland.  Among his many books are, Generations of Captivity: A History of African American Slaves and Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in America.

Pilar Ossorio
A look at biological notions of race, how race is socially real, health consequences of race, and drug company research and classification.

Pilar Ossorio is currently (2019) Professor of Law and Bioethics at the University of Wisconsin - Madison.

Robin D.G. Kelley
How did early American peoples see themselves? How is race socially constructed? How is racism more than just individual prejudice and fear?

Robin D.G. Kelley is currently (2019) Distinguished Professor and Gary B. Nash Endowed Chair in US History at UCLA. He is also author of Race Rebels: Culture, Politics and the Black Working Class; and Hammer and Hoe: Alabama Communists During the Great Depression.

Beverly Daniel Tatum
Does everyone experience race the same way? How do our cultural experiences shape our perceptions of other people? How do we unknowingly recreate racism?

Beverly Daniel Tatum is currently (2019) a clinical psychologist, professor and President of Spelman College. She is an expert on race relations and author of Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?, and Assimilation Blues: Black Families in a White Community.

Richard Lewontin
How much genetic variation really exists between people? Can genetic research help us unlock human differences?

Richard Lewontin is currently (2019) Professor Emeritus of Biology and Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Emeritus at Harvard University. He has written many celebrated books on evolution and human variation books including The Triple Helix.

Audrey Smedley
How is race a modern concept? Why were Africans enslaved? What role did 19th century ethnologists and race scientists play in shaping our understanding of race?

Audrey Smedley is currently (2019) Professor Emeritus at Virginia Commonwealth University in anthropology and African-American studies. She is the author of Race in North America: Origins of a Worldview.

Alan Goodman
What are our assumptions about biology and race? What's the difference between looking at race as a social idea and a scientific one? What other explanations exist for why we look different?

Alan Goodman is currently (2019) Professor of Biological Anthropology at Hampshire College, and co-editor of Genetic Nature / Culture: Anthropology and Science Beyond the Cultural Divide and Building a New Bio-Cultural Synthesis.

Robert Rydell
What do the world's fairs tell us about our ideas of race? How did Americans at the start of the 20th century view themselves and others? Why were indigenous peoples from around the world put on display?

Robert Rydell is currently (2019) Professor of History at Montana State University. He is a specialist on world's fairs, and author of All the World's a Fair.

Nancy DiTomaso
How do whites feel about race, affirmative action and racial inequality? To find out, Nancy DiTomaso interviewed white people throughout the United States.

Nancy DiTomaso is currently (2019) Distinguished Professor of Management and Global Business at Rutgers Business School—Newark and New Brunswick

Melvin Oliver
Does everyone have the same opportunities to get ahead? Where did the wealth gap between blacks and whites come from, and what should we do about it?

Melvin Oliver is currently (2019) President of Pitzer College. He is also the co-author along with Thomas M. Shapiro of Black Wealth, White Wealth, which won the Distinguished Scholarly Publication Award from the American Sociological Association.

Karen Ordahl Kupperman
How did the English and Native peoples of America view themselves and each other at the time of their first encounter? Why did the English colonize North America?

Karen Ordahl Kupperman is currently (2019) Professor of History at New York University. She is author of Indians and English: Facing Off in North America and Roanoke: The Lost Colony.

Jonathan Marks
Why doesn't it make sense to classify people into races? How do we sort through all our confusion about genetics, biology and things like athletic ability? Where did our traditional notions of race come from?

Jonathan Marks is currently (2019) Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. He is the author of Tales of the ex-Apes: How We Think About Human Evolution, and Human Biodiversity and What It Means to Be 98% Chimpanzee.

Evelynn Hammonds
A look at 19th century race science, race and medicine, and how scientists are influenced by their social context.

Evelynn Hammonds is currently (2019) Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She is the author of The Logic of Difference: A History of Race in Science and Medicine in the United States.

Theda Perdue
How did ideas of race change and affect the treatment of Native Americans and the self-identity of tribes like the Cherokee, from the early encounter with British colonists to today?

Theda Perdue is currently (2019) Professor Emerita of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Among her books are The Cherokee; Cherokee Women; and the forthcoming "Mixed Blood" Indians: Racial Construction in the Early South.

Dalton Conley
What is the relationship between housing and wealth? Why does wealth matter and what does this have to do with race?

Dalton Conley is currently (2019) Henry Putnam University Professor in Sociology and a faculty affiliate at the Office of Population Research and the Center for Health and Wellbeing at Princeton University.  He is the author of Being Black, Living in the Red: Race, Wealth, and Social Policy in America.

john a. powell
How is race socially constructed? Why can't we get rid of the concept? How do whites benefit without having to do anything? What can we do about residential segregation and inequality?

john a. powell is currently (2019) Professor of Law and African American Studies at UC Berkeley, and the Director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society.

Joseph Graves, Jr.
Are certain races athletically superior? How much genetic diversity is there among humans?

Joseph Graves, Jr. is currently (2019) Professor of Nanoengineering at the Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering and author of The Emperor's New Clothes: Biological Theories of Race at the Millennium.

James O. Horton
A look at the fluidity of racial identities in early colonial America, the long history of slavery not based on race, and how the rationalization of slavery continues to affect us today.

James O. Horton (1943–2017) was Benjamin Banneker Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University, and Director of the Afro-American Communities Project of the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution.

Stephen Jay Gould
Why did different skin colors evolve? Where did the term Caucasian come from? Are scientists biased by their beliefs?

Stephen Jay Gould (1941-2002) was one of the foremost natural historians of our time and wrote many books, including The Mismeasure of Man.