Thesis ID: CBB847893337

Beggars and Kings: Marginalized People in the Discourses of Early American Scientific Societies (2022)

unapi

Seeman, Erik (Advisor)
Nero, Andrea (Author)


Seeman, Erik
State University of New York at Buffalo
Publication date: 2022
Language: English


Publication Date: 2022
Physical Details: 338

Through their membership in scientific societies, eighteenth-century American gentlemen served as gatekeepers of participation in scientific inquiry. Early American scientific societies excluded poor to middling white men, Indians, blacks and women, yet these outsiders continued to practice science outside of formal organizations. These excluded groups also participated in the societies as sources of knowledge and subjects of inquiry, making them vital to the work of organizations like the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In their discourses on these outsider groups, the societies used scientific reasoning to mark blacks, Indians, the lower classes and women as inferiors. Although cognitively-dissonant, the scientific elite were desirous of the knowledge of those they felt beneath them, particularly when it originated from black and Indian communities, who were depicted as “primitive” or “savage.” These gentleman scientists often took knowledge from outsider groups without giving them credit for their ideas. By being the first to publish, the white men of the societies gained authorship and authority over the knowledge developed by women, Indians, blacks and the lower sorts. Through their efforts to colonize knowledge on the American continent, elite men created positions of authority for themselves within the realm of science. The work undertaken by society members under the guise of science helped solidify systemic inequality in the early United States through their promotion and circulation of sexist, racist and classist material that worked to define the ideal American as white, wealthy, formally-educated, well-connected and male.

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Authors & Contributors
Anderson, Mark
Danielewicz, Jane
Delle, James A.
Farber, Paul Lawrence
Gordon, Leah N.
Hess, Volker
Journals
Canadian Bulletin of Medical History/Bulletin Canadienne d'Histoire de la Medecine
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Medizinhistorisches Journal
New Books Network Podcast
Publishers
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
New York, City University of
Cornell University Press
Duke University Press
Lexington Books
Concepts
Science and race
Racism
African Americans
Rhetoric in scientific discourse
Social class
Rhetorical analysis
People
Boas, Franz
Allport, Gordon Willard
Benedict, Ruth Fulton
Darwin, Charles Robert
Davis, Angela
Du Bois, William Edward B.
Time Periods
20th century
19th century
18th century
20th century, early
21st century
Modern
Places
United States
Chicago (Illinois, U.S.)
Great Britain
Alabama (U.S.)
Canada
New York City (New York, U.S.)
Institutions
University of Chicago
Lafargue Mental Hygiene Clinic
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