• Study of human biological and cultural diversity of time and space
  • Why?

o We live in a multicultural world

o To understand ourselves and others better

Scientific Racism:

  • The notion of fundamentally different biological stocks (races) as the cause of different behaviours, cultures, etc
  • Statements that put forth the idea that cultural traits and behaviours are biologically inherited
  1. History of Scientific Racism:
  • Racial Categories:

o We make sense of the world by categorizing them

o Linnaeus

o Blumenbach

o Hooten


  • Example of typologizing

o Categorizing

Racial Categories:

  • Linnaeus (1758):

o “Systema Naturae” identified variants of homo sapiens

  • Europaeus albascens (white)
  • Asiaticus focus (brown)
  • Africanus negreus (black)
  • Americanus rubesceans (red)
  • Blumenbach (1781):

o Delineation of races into scientific category

  • Caucasian (white)
  • Mongolian (yellow)
  • Malay (brown)
  • Ethiopian (black)
  • American (red)
  • Hooten (1926):

o All races come down to the big three

  • Caucasoid (Europe, India, Mideast)
  • Mongoloid (East Asia, Pacific Islands, Native American)
  • Negroid (Africa, Australia)

o Problems: people can move, where is East Asia? (China?)

Characteristics of Racial Types:

  • Salient biological traits

o Skin colour, hair, facial features, stature

  • Behavioural propensities

o Intelligence, criminality, violence

What About the Origins of Races?:

  • Monogenesis

o Monogenecists: subscribe to the theory of human origins which posits a single origin for all humans

  • Polygenesis

o Polygeneists: believe that human races have been created separately in different zones (by God)

  • Fixity of species
  • Strict limit on environmental influence
  • Unchanging underlying type
  • Anatomical and cranial measurement differences in races
  • Physical and mental differences between racial groups (notice again the idea of “ranking")
  • Human races are all distinct
  1. Science, Race, and Culture:
  • Culture:

o Categories - organizing the universe

o “A priori" assumptions

  • Races are Western cultural categories
  • Race: cultural categories in the hands of science

o Science and quantification - trying to use science and numbers

o Craniometry (measuring heads) and other comparative anatomical measures - in many instances based on “a priori" assumptions

  1. Critique of Race in the Analysis of Human Sociocultural Diversity:
  • Race does not exist biologically - exists as a social construct (socially and culturally)
  • Culture is socially transmitted (NOT biologically); it is learned, NOT inherited
  • All peoples have an equal capacity to acquire culture
  1. Critique of Race in the Analysis of Human Biological Diversity:
  • Scientific study of human diversity since WWII

o Broader and more systematic analysis of “traits”

o Systematic observations of many more populations than in the past - better data

  • Four facts of human biological variation

o There is human variation and it is a valid topic of scientific investigation

o Much human biological variation is geographically localized in its distribution

o Human biological variation is continuous in its geographic distribution

o Human biological variation is discordant in its geographic distribution

  • But why is this complex picture of human diversity?

o Newness of species

o Great migrations

  • Racial typologies reconsidered in light of today's data

o Tremendous variation within racial groups

o Mean variation WITHIN racial groups exceeds mean variation BETWEEN racial groups

o Physical variation is not distributed by race

o Parents pass genes, not types to offspring

  • Alternative unit of analysis

o Cline: gradation in a single trait of gene frequency over geographic distance

Race and Ethnicity:

  • Race is salient as a subject of anthropological inquiry (as a Sociocultural phenomenon), NOT as a unit of analysis
  • Ethnicity: common identity based on cultural similarity

o Ethnic group: shares Sociocultural attributes: values, beliefs, etc

  • Social Races:

o Ethnic groups that are believed to have a biological basis

o Cultural categories: vary cross-culturally

■ Hypodescent in the US

n Susie Guillort Phipps case in Louisiana
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