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About this exhibition 

Race Deconstructed: Science and the Making of Difference, curated by Elizabeth Ott and Dawne Lucas, is an online version of a physical exhibition of that name that was presented at the Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, from February 13 to March 12, 2020, closing early as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hope to reinstall the exhibition in late 2021. The exhibition was organized to inaugurate the consolidation of the Health Sciences Special Collections with Wilson Special Collections Library. All items on display are held in the Wilson Special Collections Library.  

On February 13, 2020, to celebrate the opening of the exhibition UNC Libraries and UNC’s Bullitt History of Medicine Club co-hosted a talk by Rana A. Hogarth, assistant professor of history at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign: “(De)Constructing Difference Medicalizing Blackness and the Making of Race.” Hogarth is the author of Medicating Blackness Making Racial Difference in the Atlantic World, 1780-1840 (University of North Carolina Press, 2017). 

To listen to Rana Hogarth and Dawne Lucas talk about the exhibition on The State of Things on WUNC click here. 

About the curators 

Elizabeth Ott is the Frank Borden Hanes Curator of Rare Books at the Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Dawne Howard Lucas (MA, MSLS) is a technical services archivist at the Wilson Special Collections Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her knowledge of health sciences collections developed in her previous roles at UNC’s Health Sciences Library and the Duke University Medical Center Library & Archives. She is an active member of professional organizations devoted to the history of the health sciences.   

Advisory board 

Members of an advisory board reviewed exhibit content in advance to ensure historical accuracy, context, integrity, and cultural sensitivity. Advisory board members provided both subject expertise and a non-white perspective to the exhibit. The members were: 

Claude Clegg, Lyle V. Jones Distinguished Professor, Department of African, African American, & Diaspora Studies/Department of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Rana Hogarth, Associate Professor of History, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign 

Raúl Necochea, Associate Professor of Social Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Arwin Smallwood, Professor and Chair of the Department of History and Political ScienceNorth Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University 


Thanks go to the following UNC Libraries staff for their contribution to the exhibition: 

Rebecca Smyrl, Conservator 

Jay Mangum, Digitization Support Technician 

Rachel Reynolds, Exhibitions Coordinator 

Megan Sullivan, Exhibitions Student Assistant 

Aleah Howell, Multimedia and Visual Communications Specialist 

Last updated: 4/1/2021