The Nature of Difference: Sciences of Race in the United States from Jefferson to Genomics

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The Nature of Difference documents how distinctions between people have been generated in and by the life sciences. Through insightful commentaries and a wide-ranging selection of primary documents by the editors, it charts the shifting boundaries of science and race through more than two centuries of American history.

The documents, primarily writings by authoritative, eminent scientists intended for their professional peers, show how various sciences of race have changed their object of study over time: from racial groups to types to populations to genomes and beyond. The book's thematic and synthetic approach reveals the profoundly diverse array of practices—countless acts of observation, quantification, and experimentation—that enabled the consequential categorizations we inherit. The documents—most reproduced in their entirety—range from dictionary definitions of race published between 1886 and 2005 to an exchange of letters between Benjamin Baneker and Thomas Jefferson; from Samuel Cartwright's 1851 "Report on the Diseases and Physical Peculiarities of the Negro Race" to a 1950 UNESCO declaration that race is a social myth; from a 1928 paper detailing the importance of the glands in shaping human nature to a 2005 report of the discovery of a genetic basis for skin color. Such documents, given context by the editors' introductions to each thematic chapter, provide scholars, journalists, and general readers with the rich historical background necessary for understanding contemporary developments in racial science.

Evelynn M. Hammonds is Professor of the History of Science and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University.

She is the author of Childhood's Deadly Scourge: The Campaign to Control Diphtheria in New York City, 1880-1930. Rebecca M. Herzig is Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies at Bates College and the author of Suffering for Science: Reason and Sacrifice in Modern America.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Given the centrality of race to American history, The Nature of Difference offers readers relevant primary sources that they would not likely have come across on their own. With so much to offer The Nature of Difference should enrich the study and practice of history and science." Christopher Cumo The Canadian Journal of History
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262582759
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 1/31/2009
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 400
  • Product dimensions: 6.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Evelynn M. Hammonds is Dean of Harvard College and Barbara Gutman Rosenkrantz Professor of the History of Science and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She is the author of Childhood's Deadly Scourge: The Campaign to Control Diphtheria in New York City, 1880-1930 and coeditor of The Harvard Sampler: Liberal Education for the Twenty-First Century.

Rebecca M. Herzig is Christian A. Johnson Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies at Bates College and the author of Suffering for Science: Reason and Sacrifice in Modern America.

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Table of Contents

Introduction xi

1 Dictionary Definitions of "Race" 1

Introduction 3

1.1 A Complete Pronouncing Medical Dictionary: Embracing the Terminology of Medicine and the Kindred Sciences, with their Signification, Etymology, and Pronunciation (1886) J. Thomas 4

1.2 A Practical Medical Dictionary (1911) T. L. Stedman 5

1.3 Gould's Medical Dictionary: Containing All the Words and Phrases Generally Used in Medicine and the Allied Sciences, with Their Proper Pronunciation, Derivation, and Definition Based on Recent Medical Literature (1928) G. M. Gould 5

1.4 Dictionary of Anthropology (1956) C. Winick 6

1.5 A Dictionary of Scientific Terms (1957) I. F. Henderson W. D. Henderson 6

1.6 Dictionary of the Biological Sciences (1967) P. Gary 7

1.7 A Dictionary of Anthropology (1972) D. M. Davies 7

1.8 McGraw-Hill Dictionary of the Life Sciences (1976) 8

1.9 Macmillan Dictionary of Anthropology (1986) C. Seymour-Smith 8

1.10 International Dictionary of Medicine and Biology (1986) S. I. Landau, ed. 8

1.11 Dictionary of Genetics and Cell Biology (1987) N. Maclean 9

1.12 Glossary of Genetics: Classical and Molecular (1991) R. Rieger 9

1.13 Encyclopedia & Dictionary of Medicine, Nursing, & Allied Health (1992) B. F. Miller 10

1.14 A Dictionary of Genetics (1997) R. King 10

1.15 The Cambridge Dictionary of Human Biology and Evolution (2005) L. L. Mai M. Young Owl M. P. Kersting 10

2 Anatomical Observations 13

Introduction 15

2.1 "Laws" (Query XIV) (1781-1782) Thomas Jefferson 19

2.2 "Letter to the Secretary of State" (1791) Benjamin Banneker 33

2.3 Thomas Jefferson's reply to Banneker (1791) 36

2.4 "The Effect of Circumstances upon the Physical Man" (1854)Frederick Douglass 37

2.5 "Peculiarities in the Structure and Diseases of the Ear of the Negro" (1887) T. E. Murrell 42

2.6 "The Deformity Termed 'Pug Nose' and Its Correction by a Simple Operation" (1887) John Orlando Roe 52

2.7 "The Hair and Wool of the Different Species of Man" (1850) 58

2.8 "On Some of the Apparent Peculiarities of Partuition in the Negro Races" (1875) Joseph Taber Johnson 59

3 Immunity and Contagion 61

Introduction 63

3.1 "Report on the Diseases and Physical Peculiarities of the Negro Race" (1851) Samuel A. Cartwright 67

3.2 "The Plague Spot" (1878) Mary P. Sawtelle 87

3.3 "Consumption Among the Indians" (1887) Washington Matthews 89

3.4 "Does Pulmonary Consumption Tend to Exterminate the American Indian?" (1887) Thomas Mays 95

3.5 "The Study of Consumption Among the Indians" (1887) Washington Matthews 100

4 Evolution and Degeneration 103

Introduction 105

4.1 "The Impossibility of Acclimatizing Races" (1861) 113

4.2 "Vital Statistics of the Negro" (1892) Frederick L. Hoffman 116

4.3 "The Influence of Environment and Race on Diseases" (1910) C. W. Birnie 129

4.4 "How to Improve the Race" (1914) Alexander Graham Bell 135

5 Techniques of Measurement 145

Introduction 147

5.1 Investigations in the Military and Anthropological Statistics of American Soldiers (1869) Benjamin Gould 151

5.2 "Some Recent Criticisms of Physical Anthropology" (1899) Franz Boas 155

5.3 "Observations on the Sweat Glands of Tropical and Northern Races" (1917) Elbert Clark Ruskin H. Lhamon 161

5.4 "The Color-Top Method of Estimating Skin Pigmentation" (1930) H. A. Bowman 168

5.5 "Race and Runners" (1936) W. Montague Cobb 179

6 Glandular Differences 195

Introduction 197

6.1 "The Gland As a Clue to the Mystery of Human Faces" (1920) 201

6.2 "Man and the Endocrines: With Stress on the Female" (1921) G. K. Dickinson 205

6.3 The Glands Regulating Personality: A Study of the Glands of Internal Secretion in Relation to the Types of Human Nature (1921) Louis Berman 210

6.4 "The Relation of the Endocrine Glands to Heredity and Development" (1922) Lewellys F. Barker 223

6.5 Endocrinology in Modern Practice (1939) William Wolf 231

7 Hybridity and Admixture 235

Introduction 237

7.1 "Effects of Race Intermingling" (1917) C. B. Davenport 241

7.2 "Biological and Social Consequences of Race-Crossing" (1926) W. E. Castle 245

7.3 "Racial Fusion Among the California and Nevada Indians" (1943) S. F. Cook 255

7.4 "The Physical Characteristics of the Hybrid" (1944) Louis Wirth Herbert Goldhamer 266

8 Toward Genetics 277

Introduction 279

8.1 "The Race Concept in Biology" (1941) Theodosius Dobzhansky 281

8.2 "Rh and the Races of Man" (1951) William C. Boyd 287

8.3 "On the Non-Existence of Human Races" (1962) Frank B. Livingstone Theodosius Dobzhansky 296

8.4 "The Genetic Basis of Human Races" (1968) Bentley Glass 302

9 The End of Race? 307

Introduction 309

9.1 "Statement on Race" (1950) UNESCO 313

9.2 "Statement on Biological Aspects of Race" (1996) American Association of Physical Anthropologists 319

9.3 "Statement on Race" (1999) American Anthropological Association 322

9.4 "Categorization of Humans in Biomedical Research: Genes, Race, and Disease" (2002) Neil Risch Esteban Burchard Elad Ziv Hua Tang 325

9.5 The Importance of Collecting Data and Doing Social Scientific Research on Race (2003) American Sociological Association 346

9.6 "Zebrafish Researchers Hook Gene for Human Skin Color" (2005) Michael Balter 358

9.7 "SLC24A5, a Putative Cation Exchanger, Affects Pigmentation in Zebrafish and Humans" (2005) Rebecca L. Lamason Manzoor-Ali P. K. Mohideen Jason R. Mest Andrew C. Wong Heather L. Norton Michele C. Aros Michael J. Jurynec Xianyun Mao Vanessa R. Humphreville Jasper E. Humbert Soniya Sinha Jessica L. Moore Pudur Jagadeeswaran Wei Zhao Gang Ning Izabela Makalowska Paul M. McKeigue David O'Donnell Rick Kittles Esteban J. Parra Nancy J. Mangini David J. Grunwald Mark D. Shriver Victor A. Canfield Keith C. Cheng 360

Index 369

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