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Theorising Race (Rebecca Earle)

This seminar traces the development of racial ideology from the late eighteenth century to Darwin.

For discussion

1. How have the bases of racial difference been defined in learned thought? In what ways have European understandings about ‘race’ changed from the 18th to the 19th centuries? When did race become a biological concept?

2. Have European ideas about race always assumed European superiority?

3. What is the relationship between the development of ideas about race, about class, and about gender?

4. How does current scientific thinking deal with the idea of race?

Readings

Primary Texts

Buffon, Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de, ‘Variétés dans l’espèce humaine’ (1749-1804), Oeuvres complètes de Buffon (Paris, 1859), vol. 3, pp. 268-324

Darwin, Charles, The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), John Murray (London, 1888), Chapter 7: ‘On the Races of Man’

Gobineau, Arthur, Comte de, ‘Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races’ (1853-5), in Gobineau: Selected Political Writings, Michael Biddiss (ed.), Jonathan Cape (London, 1970)

Secondary Texts

Gould, Stephen Jay, ‘American Polygeny and Craniotomy before Darwin’, in The ‘Racial’ Economy of Science: Toward A Democratic Future, ed. Sandra Harding, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, 1993), 84-115.

Gould, Stephen Jay, Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History, Penguin (1973), Chapter 27: ‘Racism and Recapitulation’

Greene, John, The Death of Adam: Evolution and its Impact on Western Thought, Iowa State University Press (Ames, 1959), Chapter 8: ‘The Origin of Human Races’

Hudson, Nicholas, ‘From ‘Nation’ to ‘Race’: The Origins of Racial Classification in Eighteenth-Century Thought’, Eighteenth-Century Studies, vol. 29 (1996), pp. 247-64

Livingstone, Frank B., ‘On the Nonexistence of Human Races’ in The ‘Racial’ Economy of Science: Toward A Democratic Future, ed. Sandra Harding, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, 1993), 132-141.

Malik, Kenan, The Meaning of Race: Race, History and Culture in Western Society, New York University Press (New York, 1996), Chapter 2: ‘The Social Limits to Equality’, and Chapter 3: ‘The Making of a Discourse of Race’.

Marshall, Gloria, ‘Racial Classifications: Popular and Scientific’ in The ‘Racial’ Economy of Science: Toward A Democratic Future, ed. Sandra Harding, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, 1993),116-127.

McClintock Anne, Imperial Leather: Race, Gender and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest, Routledge (New York, 1995)

Schiebinger, Londa, Nature’s Body: Sexual Politics and the Making of Modern Science, Pandora (1993), Chapter 4: ‘The Anatomy of Difference’, and Chapter 5: ‘Theories of Gender and Race’ (available online at www.hsph.harvard.edu/rt21/concepts/SCHIEBINGER.html)

Schiebinger, Londa, The Mind Has No Sex: Women and the Origins of Modern Science, Harvard University Press (Cambridge, 1989), Chapter 7: ‘More than Skin Deep: the Scientific Search for Sexual Difference’

Stepan, Nancy Leys, and Sander L. Gilman, ‘Appropriating the Idioms of Science: The Rejection of Scientific Racism’ in The ‘Racial’ Economy of Science: Toward A Democratic Future, ed. Sandra Harding, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, 1993), 170-199.

Washburn, S. L., ‘The Study of Race’ in The ‘Racial’ Economy of Science: Toward A Democratic Future, ed. Sandra Harding, Indiana University Press (Bloomington, 1993), 128-132.

Scientific Writings

‘Is Race Real?’, a web forum organised by the Social Sciences Resarch Council, http://raceandgenomics.ssrc.org/

Parra, Flavia, Roberto Amado, José Lambertucci, Jorge Rocha, Carlos Antunes and Sérgio Pena, ‘Color and Genomic Ancestry in Brazilians’, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 100:1 (2003).

Phinney, Jean, ‘When We Talk about American Ethnic Groups, What Do We Mean?’, American Psychologist 31:9 (1996).

Templeton, Alan, ‘Human Races: A Genetic and Evolutionary Perspective’, American Anthropologist, vol. 100:3 (1999).