In The Museum Of Man: Race, Anthropology, and Empire in France, 1850-1950 by Alice L. ConklinIn The Museum Of Man: Race, Anthropology, and Empire in France, 1850-1950 by Alice L. Conklin

In The Museum Of Man: Race, Anthropology, and Empire in France, 1850-1950

byAlice L. Conklin

Paperback | October 15, 2013

Pricing and Purchase Info

$36.04 online 
$40.50 list price save 11%
Earn 180 plum® points

Prices and offers may vary in store


In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Not available in stores


In the Museum of Man offers new insight into the thorny relationship between science, society, and empire at the high-water mark of French imperialism and European racism. Alice L. Conklin takes us into the formative years of French anthropology and social theory between 1850 and 1900; then deep into the practice of anthropology, under the name of ethnology, both in Paris and in the empire before and especially after World War I; and finally, into the fate of the discipline and its practitioners under the German Occupation and its immediate aftermath.

Conklin addresses the influence exerted by academic networks, museum collections, and imperial connections in defining human diversity socioculturally rather than biologically, especially in the wake of resurgent anti-Semitism at the time of the Dreyfus Affair and in the 1930s and 1940s. Students of the progressive social scientist Marcel Mauss were exposed to the ravages of imperialism in the French colonies where they did fieldwork; as a result, they began to challenge both colonialism and the scientific racism that provided its intellectual justification. Indeed, a number of them were killed in the Resistance, fighting for the humanist values they had learned from their teachers and in the field. A riveting story of a close-knit community of scholars who came to see all societies as equally complex, In the Museum of Man serves as a reminder that if scientific expertise once authorized racism, anthropologists also learned to rethink their paradigms and mobilize against racial prejudice—a lesson well worth remembering today.

Alice L. Conklin is Professor of History at The Ohio State University. She is the author of A Mission to Civilize: The Republican Idea of Empire in France and West Africa, 1895–1930, coauthor of France and Its Empire since 1870, and coeditor of European Imperialism: 1830–1930: Climax and Contradictions.
Title:In The Museum Of Man: Race, Anthropology, and Empire in France, 1850-1950Format:PaperbackDimensions:392 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.27 inPublished:October 15, 2013Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801478782

ISBN - 13:9780801478789

Look for similar items by category:


Table of Contents


1. Races, Bones, and Artifacts: A General Science of Man in the Nineteenth Century

2. Toward a New Synthesis: The Birth of Academic Ethnology

3. Ethnology for the Masses: The Making of the Musée de l'Homme

4. Skulls on Display: Antiracism, Racism, and Racial Science

5. Ethnology: A Colonial Form of Knowledge?

6. From the Study to the Field: Ethnologists in the Empire

7. Ethnologists at War: Vichy and the Race Question


Selected Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

"In the Museum of Man is a masterful synthesis of the emergence of the new field of anthropology in France. Alice L. Conklin provides a fascinating glimpse into the way in which social thought was shaped in response to historical circumstances. The political stakes in the debate over race were high, especially during World War II, when some scholars who favored the biological interpretation of race ended up collaborating with the Nazis. Others who favored a cultural and historical interpretation either supported the resistance or were murdered by the Nazis because of their Jewish background. Based on a huge amount of primary and secondary research, Conklin's pathbreaking book will be of value to students and scholars of French, European, and even American intellectual, cultural, and political history."—Vicki Caron, Diann G. and Thomas A. Mann Professor of Modern Jewish Studies, Cornell University