The Myth of Race
The Troubling Persistence of An Unscientific IdeaBook - 2014
Biological races do not exist -- and never have. This view is shared by all scientists who study variation in human populations. Yet racial prejudice and intolerance based on the myth of race remain deeply ingrained in Western society. Robert Sussman explores how race emerged as a social construct from early biblical justifications to the pseudoscientific studies of today. The Myth of Race traces the origins of modern racist ideology to the Spanish Inquisition, revealing how sixteenth-century theories of racial degeneration became a crucial justification for Western imperialism and slavery. In the nineteenth century, these theories fused with Darwinism to produce the highly influential and pernicious eugenics movement. Believing that traits from cranial shape to raw intelligence were immutable, eugenicists developed hierarchies that classified certain races, especially fair-skinned "Aryans," as superior to others. These ideologues proposed programs of intelligence testing, selective breeding, and human sterilization -- policies that fed straight into Nazi genocide. Sussman examines how opponents of eugenics, guided by the German-American anthropologist Franz Boas's new, scientifically supported concept of culture, exposed fallacies in racist thinking.
Publisher: Cambridge, Massachusetts : Harvard University Press, 2014
Branch Call Number: 305.8 SUS 2014
Characteristics: ix, 374 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm