Article ID: CBB000550896

The Politics of Ecology in South Africa on the Radical Left (2004)


The South African ecologist and political activist Edward Roux (1903--1966) used evolutionary biology to argue against racism. During the cold-war, he transformed his communist beliefs into advocacy for scientific rationalism, management, and protection of nature against advancing capitalism. These pleas for saving the environment served as a vehicle for questioning the more risky issue of evolution and racial order in society. The link between ecological and political order had long been an important theme among the country's ecologists and politicians alike. The statesman Jan Christian Smuts' holistic theory of evolution and racial order inspired the nation's ecologists to sanctify an ecologically informed racial policy. This idealist informed methodology stood in direct opposition to the materialist approach to ecology of Roux. These methodological debates reflected differing political support from within the Union Party and people on the radical left, respectively. Ecology was of concern to politicians because understandings of the order of nature had direct implications for the racial order of the South African society.

Citation URI

Similar Citations

Article Cimino, Guido; Foschi, Renato; (2014)
Northerners Versus Southerners: Italian Anthropology and Psychology Faced with the “Southern Question” (/isis/citation/CBB001550683/)

Book Sze, Julie; (2007)
Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban Health and Environmental Justice (/isis/citation/CBB000950034/)

Article Czech, Herwig; Zeidman, Lawrence A.; (2014)
Walther Birkmayer, Co-describer of L-Dopa, and His Nazi Connections: Victim or Perpetrator? (/isis/citation/CBB001420781/)

Book Amos Morris-Reich; (2016)
Race and Photography: Racial Photography As Scientific Evidence, 1876-1980 (/isis/citation/CBB373491380/)

Book Mark Anderson; (2019)
From Boas to Black Power: Racism, Liberalism, and American Anthropology (/isis/citation/CBB544344509/)

Article Ladd-Taylor, Molly; (2014)
Contraception or Eugenics? Sterilization and “Mental Retardation” in the 1970s and 1980s (/isis/citation/CBB001420274/)

Book Jackson, John P., Jr.; Weidman, Nadine M.; (2004)
Race, Racism, and Science: Social Impact and Interaction (/isis/citation/CBB000650561/)

Book Farber, Paul Lawrence; (2011)
Mixing Races: From Scientific Racism to Modern Evolutionary Ideas (/isis/citation/CBB001033410/)

Article Patrick B. Miller; (1998)
The Anatomy of Scientific Racism: Racialist Responses to Black Athletic Achievement (/isis/citation/CBB942333991/)

Multimedia Object Lachlan Summers; Anderson, Mark; (2020)
Mark D. Anderson, “From Boas to Black Power: Racism, Liberalism and American Anthropology” (Stanford UP, 2019) (/isis/citation/CBB124642253/)

Book Michele Bonmassar; (2019)
Diritto e razza. Gli italiani in Africa (/isis/citation/CBB090469677/)

Article Rudling, Per Anders; (2014)
Eugenics and Racial Biology in Sweden and the USSR: Contacts across the Baltic Sea (/isis/citation/CBB001420268/)

Article Silva, Eliana Gesteira da; Fonseca, Alexandre Brasil; (2013)
Ciência, estética e raça: observando imagens e textos no periódico O Brasil Médico, 1928--1945 (/isis/citation/CBB001420701/)

Article Maglo, Koffi N.; (2011)
The Case against Biological Realism about Race: From Darwin to the Post-Genomic Era (/isis/citation/CBB001036061/)

Book Washington, Sylvia Hood; (2005)
Packing Them In: An Archaeology of Environmental Racism in Chicago, 1865--1954. (/isis/citation/CBB000700470/)

Book Panofsky, Aaron; (2014)
Misbehaving Science: Controversy and the Development of Behavior Genetics (/isis/citation/CBB001422037/)

Authors & Contributors
Anderson, Mark
Jackson, John P., Jr.
Weidman, Nadine M.
Washington, Sylvia Hood
Sze, Julie
Rupnow, Dirk
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Perspectives on Science
História, Ciências, Saúde---Manguinhos
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
History of Psychology
Naturwissenschaftliche Rundschau
University of Chicago Press
Lexington Books
MIT Press
Johns Hopkins University Press
Science and race
African Americans
Science and politics
Darwin, Charles Robert
Boas, Franz
Lundberg, Erik
Foucault, Michel
Birkmayer, Walther
Haeckel, Ernst
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
United States
New York City (New York, U.S.)
Chicago (Illinois, U.S.)
Soviet Union
Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946)
Lafargue Mental Hygiene Clinic

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment