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Week 13: Anthropology and empire, 1800-1900. Race.

Lecture slides and handout.

Throughout the nineteenth century, anthropologists travelled across the colonial world, studying the mind, body and culture of the peoples they met. In studying the history of race, this lecture links science and technology to the politics of empire. We explore the work of early colonial ethnologists, such as James Cowles Prichard, as well as later twentieth-century anthropologists, such as Margaret Mead.

Seminar Questions

  • How did scientific understandings of race change over the course of the nineteenth century?
  • What was the relationship between racial science and slavery?
  • How did anthropology support colonialism, and vice versa?
  • Why did field work become so important to anthropology?

Essential Readings
Qureshi, Sadiah, ‘Displaying Sara Baartman, the ‘Hottentot Venus’, History of Science, 42 (2004)

Kuklick, Henrika, ‘Personal Equations: Reflections on the History of Fieldwork, with Special Reference to Sociocultural Anthropology’, Isis, 102 (2011)

Additional Readings

Adrian Desmond and James Moore, Darwin’s Sacred Cause: Race, Slavery and the Quest for Human Origins (London: Allen lane, 2009)

Alexander, Denis and Ronald Numbers (eds), Biology and Ideology from Descartes to Dawkins (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2013)

Augstein, Hannah, James Cowles Prichard's Anthropology: Remaking the Science of Man in Early Nineteenth-Century Britain (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999)

Bindman, David, From Ape to Apollo: Aesthetics and the Idea of Race in the 18th Century (London: Reaktion, 2002)

Conklin, Alice, In the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology and Empire in France, 1850-1950 (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press)

Edwards, Elizabeth, Raw Histories: Photographs, Anthropology and Museums (Oxford; Berg, 2001)

Fabian, Ann, Skull Collectors: Race, Science and America’s Unburied Dead (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2010)

Kuklick, Henrika, The Savage Within: The Social History of British Anthropology, 1885-1945 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991)

Qureshi, Sadiah, Peoples on Parade: Exhibitions, Empire and Anthropology in Nineteenth-Century Britain (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 2011)

Simpson, Thomas, ‘Historicising Humans in Colonial South Asia’, in Efram Sera-Shriar (ed.), Historicising Humans: Deep Time, Evolution and Race in Nineteenth-Century British Sciences (Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018)

Stepan, Nancy, The Idea of Race in Science: Great Britain, 1800-1960 (London: Macmillan, 1982)

Stocking, George, Victorian Anthropology (London: Free Press, 1987)

Williams, Elizabeth, The Physical and the Moral: Anthropology, Physiology, and Philosophical Medicine in France, 1750-1850 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994)