Thesis ID: CBB847893337

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


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.

Citation URI

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Book Delle, James A.; Mrozowski, Stephen A.; Paynter, Robert; (2000)
Lines that Divide: Historical Archaeologies of Race, Class, and Gender (/p/isis/citation/CBB000101650/) unapi

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

Book Eric Herschthal; (2021)
The Science of Abolition: How Slaveholders Became the Enemies of Progress (/p/isis/citation/CBB289630170/) unapi

Book Wray, Matt; (2006)
Not Quite White: White Trash and the Boundaries of Whiteness (/p/isis/citation/CBB001021028/) unapi

Thesis Jennifer Edwell; (2020)
Origin Stories: The Rhetorical Ecology of American Birth Medicine (/p/isis/citation/CBB219382625/) unapi

Book Colleen Derkatch; (2022)
Why Wellness Sells: Natural Health in a Pharmaceutical Culture (/p/isis/citation/CBB798800376/) unapi

Article Volker Hess; (2020)
Der Aphorismus als Wissenstechnik (/p/isis/citation/CBB983598764/) unapi

Thesis Oren Abeles; (2017)
The Agricultural Climax and Darwin's Evolutionary Rhetoric (/p/isis/citation/CBB812551579/) unapi

Thesis David Alan Varel; (2015)
Race, Class, and Socialization: Allison Davis and Twentieth-century American Social Thought (/p/isis/citation/CBB664780930/) unapi

Book Gabriel N. Mendes; (2015)
Under the Strain of Color: Harlem's Lafargue Clinic and the Promise of an Antiracist Psychiatry (/p/isis/citation/CBB251110528/) unapi

Book Melissa N. Stein; (2015)
Measuring Manhood: Race and the Science of Masculinity, 1830-1934 (/p/isis/citation/CBB729336001/) unapi

Thesis Torre, Maria Elena; (2010)
The History and Enactments of Contact in Social Psychology (/p/isis/citation/CBB001567207/) unapi

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

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

Book Ibram X. Kendi; (2016)
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (/p/isis/citation/CBB059268618/) unapi

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

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

Thesis Jazmin Antwynette Evans; (2019)
Scientific Racism's Role in the Social Thought of African Intellectual, Moral, and Physical Inferiority (/p/isis/citation/CBB578195827/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Anderson, Mark
Danielewicz, Jane
Delle, James A.
Farber, Paul Lawrence
Gordon, Leah N.
Hess, Volker
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
Johns Hopkins University Press
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
New York, City University of
Cornell University Press
Duke University Press
Lexington Books
Science and race
African Americans
Rhetoric in scientific discourse
Social class
Rhetorical analysis
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
United States
Chicago (Illinois, U.S.)
Great Britain
Alabama (U.S.)
New York City (New York, U.S.)
University of Chicago
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