The Racists and their Opponents

  • Philip D. Curtin


The three decades ending in 1859 with the publication of Darwin’s Origin of Species,were a period of basic reorientation in British biology. Evolution was already in the air and in the works of some scientists. Only Darwin’s general hypothesis was missing; but, lacking the Darwinian revolution, many older forms of biological thought flourished alongside the new. Physical anthropology (more commonly called ethnology in this period) was caught up in the general ferment of the biological sciences, but in ways that were to be disastrous for its future development. Edwards’ Caractères physiologique des races humaines (1829) marked the beginning of a new flowering for pseudo-scientific racism. Between Edwards’ publication and Darwin’s, the groundwork was laid for the racial doctrines which were to dominate Western thought about non-Western peoples for a half century or more.


British Association Gold Coast Racial Theory Cephalic Index Cranial Capacity 
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  • Philip D. Curtin

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