Article ID: CBB086533805

Resurecting raciology? Genetic ethnology and pre-1945 anthropological race classification (2020)

unapi

This article places the current high-profile and controversial scientific project that I call ‘genetic ethnology’ within the same two-century tradition of biologically classifying modern peoples as pre-1945 race anthropology. Similarities in how these two biological projects have combined political and scientific agendas raise questions about the liberalism of genetics and stimulate concerns that genetic constructions of human difference might revive a politics of hate, division and hierarchy. The present article however goes beyond existing work that links modern genetics with race anthropology. It systematically compares their many similar practices and organisational features, showing that both projects were political-scientific syntheses. Studying how the origins, geography, filiations, ‘travels and encounters of our ancestors’ affect ‘current genetic variation’, both seem to have responded to a continuous public demand for biologists to explain the histories of politically significant peoples and give them a scientific basis. I challenge habitual contrasts between apolitical scientific genetics and racist pseudoscience and use race anthropology as a parable for how, in the era of Brexit and Trump, right-wing identity politics might infect genetic ethnology. I argue however that although biology-based identities carry risks of essentialism and determinism, the practices and organisation of classification pose greater political dangers.

...More
Included in

Article Christopher Donohue (2020) Social borrowings and biological appropriations: Special issue introduction. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (p. 101309). unapi

Citation URI
https://data.isiscb.org/isis/citation/CBB086533805/

Similar Citations

Article Jonathan Michael Kaplan; Massimo Pigliucci; Joshua Alexander Banta; (2015)
Gould on Morton, Redux: What can the debate reveal about the limits of data? (/isis/citation/CBB554093002/)

Chapter Thompson, Paul; (2000)
“Organization,” “Population,” and Mayr's Rejection of Essentialism in Biology (/isis/citation/CBB000410688/)

Article Quayshawn Spencer; (2015)
Philosophy of race meets population genetics (/isis/citation/CBB976825674/)

Chapter Braun, Lundy; Hammonds, Evelynn; (2012)
The Dilemma of Classification: The Past in the Present (/isis/citation/CBB001251785/)

Article Adam Hochman; (2016)
Race: Deflate or pop? (/isis/citation/CBB670807147/)

Book Subramaniam, Banu; (2014)
Ghost Stories for Darwin. The Science of Variation and the Politics of Diversity (/isis/citation/CBB001500575/)

Article Soraya de Chadarevian; (2020)
Normalization and the Search for Variation in the Human Genome (/isis/citation/CBB197700782/)

Article Valles, Sean A.; (2012)
Lionel Penrose and the Concept of Normal Variation in Human Intelligence (/isis/citation/CBB001221611/)

Article James W. E. Lowe; (2016)
Normal development and experimental embryology: Edmund Beecher Wilson and Amphioxus (/isis/citation/CBB114945953/)

Article Guido Barbujani; (2017)
What Genetics Has to Say about Racial Categorization of Humans (/isis/citation/CBB088477154/)

Thesis Nels Martin Abrams; (2017)
The Blank(Ish) Slate: Biology's Return to Analyses of Human Affairs (/isis/citation/CBB416193584/)

Article Pedroso, Makmiller; (2012)
Essentialism, History, and Biological Taxa (/isis/citation/CBB001221601/)

Book Troumpeta, Sevaste; (2013)
Physical Anthropology, Race and Eugenics in Greece (1880s--1970s) (/isis/citation/CBB001213992/)

Article Gannett, Lisa; (2014)
Biogeographical Ancestry and Race (/isis/citation/CBB001421076/)

Authors & Contributors
Lowe, James W. E.
Barbujani, Guido
Spencer, Quayshawn
Abrams, Nels Martin
Banta, Joshua Alexander
Hochman, Adam
Journals
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Current Anthropology
Mefisto: Rivista di medicina, filosofia, storia
Journal of Asian Studies
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
British Journal for the History of Science
Publishers
The University of Utah Press
Oxford University Press
Brill
Concepts
Science and race
Biology
Physical anthropology
Ethnicity
Race
Variation (biology)
People
Robert Trivers
Dobzhansky, Theodosius
Wilson, Edmund Beecher
Penrose, Lionel
Murdoch, George Peter
Morton, Samuel George
Time Periods
20th century
21st century
19th century
20th century, late
18th century
Places
United States
Thailand
Edinburgh (Scotland)
South Africa
Greece
Europe
Institutions
UNESCO
University of Edinburgh
Comments

Be the first to comment!

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

Log in or register to comment