The Idea of Race in Science: Great Britain, 1800–1960

TitleThe Idea of Race in Science: Great Britain, 1800–1960
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication1982
AuthorsStepan, Nancy
Number of Pages230
PublisherArchon Books
CityHamden, CT

This volume presents the central focus of nineteenth-century biological and anthropological thought, the idea of race, not as an aberration but as the necessary parallel to political and cultural concerns of the period. It also attempts to trace the history of the concept of race into the twentieth century, examining the reasons why race vanished as a concern in British science at the very same time it became central in Germany. In her discussion of the post-World War II history of race, the author examines the role of race as an ideological fossil in the works of “thinkers” such as Arthur Jensen. All of this bad science, science that today is the laughingstock of contemporary biologists and anthropologists, is shown to be the source from which these contemporary, theoretically not “racist” fields have sprung. The author's central thesis is that the development of modern science would have been inconceivable without the concept of race, that it was the powerful illusion of race that formed the questions asked by biologists and anthropologists and honed their critical tools and methods. The volume poses the question: can it be that “bad” science can produce “good” science?

Entry by GWC Assistants / Work by GWC Assistants : 

Type of Literature:

Library Location: 
Call Number: