Scientific Racism in Modern South Africa

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Product Description
This is the first full-length study of the history of intellectual and scientific racism in modern South Africa. Ranging broadly across disciplines in the social sciences, sciences and humanities, it charts the rise of scientific racism during the late nineteenth century and the subsequent decline of biological determinism from the mid-twentieth century, and considers the complex relationship between theories of essential racial difference and the political rise of segregation and apartheid.

Book Description
This original study considers the complex relationship between theories of essential racial difference and the political rise of segregation and apartheid in South Africa. It charts the rise of racism during the late 19th century as well as the subsequent decline of biological determinism from the mid-20th century.

Review
“As an example of superb and meticulous scholarship, Dubow’s work should appeal to a wide readership in the fields of racial and ethnic studies, the sociology of knowledge and science, and African studies.” Contemporary Sociology “Dubow’s conscientiously researched and cautiously interpreted wealth of specific historical material presented in a wealth of historical detail.” George W. Stocking, Jr., Isis

Review
“As an example of superb and meticulous scholarship, Dubow’s work should appeal to a wide readership in the fields of racial and ethnic studies, the sociology of knowledge and science, and African studies.” Contemporary Sociology

“Dubow’s conscientiously researched and cautiously interpreted wealth of specific historical material presented in a wealth of historical detail.” George W. Stocking, Jr., Isis

Foreign Affairs review:

Confirming the observation that all too often yesterday’s science is today’s common sense and tomorrow’s nonsense, this absorbing study scrutinizes a century of scientific and academic theorizing about race, highlighting the role of South Africans in the fields of physical and social anthropology, medicine, linguistics, psychology, history, and social policy.

From the quackery of phrenology, through Raymond Dart’s claim to have found the “missing link,” to eugenicists’ tocsins about human degeneration and the infinitely malleable Hamitic myth, the author follows the dead-end trails of biological determinism and social Darwinism as they wind through laboratories, classrooms, museums, libraries, and scientific institutes, providing ample material for political manipulation along the way.

In South Africa, the triumph of apartheid in the 1950s gave a new lease on life to racial ideologies that after the defeat of Nazism were discredited elsewhere. While giving due weight to the material interests underpinning the politics of white supremacy in South Africa, the author argues that historians must also recognize how much the architects of apartheid were intellectually enmeshed in racist traditions of thought and discourse carried over from the earlier half of the century. – Foreign Affairs

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