Article ID: CBB001214222

Savage Numbers and the Evolution of Civilization in Victorian Prehistory (2014)

unapi

This paper identifies `savage numbers' -- number-like or number-replacing concepts and practices attributed to peoples viewed as civilizationally inferior -- as a crucial and hitherto unrecognized body of evidence in the first two decades of the Victorian science of prehistory. It traces the changing and often ambivalent status of savage numbers in the period after the 1858--1859 `time revolution' in the human sciences by following successive reappropriations of an iconic 1853 story from Francis Galton's African travels. In response to a fundamental lack of physical evidence concerning prehistoric men, savage numbers offered a readily available body of data that helped scholars envisage great extremes of civilizational lowliness in a way that was at once analysable and comparable, and anecdotes like Galton's made those data vivid and compelling. Moreover, they provided a simple and direct means of conceiving of the progressive scale of civilizational development, uniting societies and races past and present, at the heart of Victorian scientific racism.

...More
Citation URI
http://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB001214222/

Similar Citations

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

Book Rosemary Lévy Zumwalt; (2019)
Franz Boas: The Emergence of the Anthropologist (/isis/citation/CBB468285066/) unapi

Book Keevak, Michael; (2011)
Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking (/isis/citation/CBB001221370/) unapi

Book Reynaud Paligot, Carole; (2006)
La république raciale: paradigme racial et idéologie républicaine, 1860--1930 (/isis/citation/CBB000772831/) unapi

Article Eddy, Matthew D.; (2011)
The Prehistoric Mind as a Historical Artefact (/isis/citation/CBB001022765/) unapi

Article Gamble, Clive; Moutsiou, Theodora; (2011)
The Time Revolution of 1859 and the Stratification of the Primeval Mind (/isis/citation/CBB001022768/) unapi

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

Article Lewis, Rhodri; (2011)
William Petty's Anthropology: Religion, Colonialism, and the Problem of Human Diversity (/isis/citation/CBB001200978/) unapi

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/) unapi

Thesis Burkholder, Zoe; (2008)
With Science as His Shield: Teaching Race and Culture in American Public Schools, 1900--1954 (/isis/citation/CBB001561311/) unapi

Article Elise Smith; (2020)
“Why do we measure mankind?” Marketing anthropometry in late-Victorian Britain (/isis/citation/CBB717605789/) unapi

Book Winston, Andrew S.; (2004)
Defining Difference: Race and Racism in the History of Psychology (/isis/citation/CBB000471026/) unapi

Article Matthew R. Goodrum; (2016)
The Beginnings of Human Palaeontology: Prehistory, Craniometry and the ‘Fossil Human Races’ (/isis/citation/CBB561011700/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Winston, Andrew S.
Imada, Adria
Yang, K. Wayne
Gere, Catherina
Smith, Andrea
Weizmann, Fredric
Journals
Notes and Records: The Royal Society Journal of the History of Science
Gesnerus
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Journal of the History of Biology
History of the Human Sciences
Huntington Library Quarterly
Publishers
American Psychological Association
Presses Universitaires de France
Princeton University Press
New York University
University of California, San Diego
Armando
Concepts
Science and race
Anthropology
Racism
Prehistory and primitive societies
Colonialism
Eugenics
People
Galton, Francis
Boas, Franz
Lubbock, John, 1st Baron Avebury
Clemens, Samuel Langhorne
Pitt-Rivers, Augustus Henry Lane-Fox
Prestwich, Joseph
Places
United States
Great Britain
Germany
Italy
South Africa
Southern states (U.S.)
Times
19th century
20th century, early
20th century
18th century
17th century
Institutions
Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946)
Columbia University
American Museum of Natural History, New York
Comments

Be the first to comment!

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

Log in or register to comment