Outcasts from Evolution: Scientific Attitudes of Racial Inferiority, 1859 - 1900 / Edition 1

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Overview

In the only book to date to explore the period between the 1859 publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species and the discovery in 1900 of Gregor Mendel’s experiments in genetics, John S. Haller, Jr., shows the relationship between scientific "conviction" and public policy. He focuses on the numerous liberally educated American scientists who were caught up in the triumph of evolutionary ideas and who sought to apply those ideas to comparative morality, health, and the physiognomy of nonwhite races.

During this period, the natural and social scientists of the day not only accepted without question the genetic and cultural superiority of the Caucasian; they also asserted that the Caucasian race held a monopoly on evolutionary progress, arguing that "inferior races" were no more than evolutionary survivors doomed by their genetic legacy to remain outcasts from evolution.

Hereditarians and evolutionists believed that "less fit" human races were perishing from the rigors of civilization’s struggle and competition. Indeed, racial inferiority lay at the very foundation of the evolutionary framework and, remaining there, rose to the pinnacle of "truth" with the myth of scientific certainty.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Haller (history, medical humanities, Southern Illinois U.) examines the scientific "proof" of racial inferiority in the US during the period between the 1859 publication of Darwin's Origin of Species and the discovery in 1900 of Gregor Mendel's experiments with genetics, in this reprint of a work first published in 1971 by University of Illinois Press. He shows how scientists sought to apply evolutionary ideas to morality, health, and the physiognomy of nonwhite races, and looks at the relationship between scientific theories and public policy. Includes b&w illustrations. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809319824
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 1/1/1996
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

John S. Haller, Jr., is the author of Medical Protestants: The Eclectics in American Medicine, 1825–1939 and Farmcarts to Fords: A History of the Military Ambulance, 1790–1925, both available from Southern Illinois University Press.

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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Preface to New Edition
Preface
I Attitudes of Racial Inferiority in Nineteenth-Century Anthropometry 3
II The Physician versus the Negro 40
III The Species Problem: The Origin of Man Controversy 69
IV Race and the Concept of Progress in Nineteenth-Century Ethnology 95
V From Biology to Sociology: Spencer and His Disciples 121
VI Portraits of Nineteenth-Century Academic Thinking on Race 153
VII The Politics of "Natural" Extinction 203
Bibliographical Essay 211
Index 223
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