National Races: Transnational Power Struggles in the Sciences and Politics of Human Diversity, 1840-1945

August 1, 2019|
National Races: Transnational Power Struggles in the Sciences and Politics of Human Diversity, 1840-1945 by Richard McMahon
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National Races explores how politics interacted with transnational science in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This interaction produced powerful, racialized national identity discourses whose influence continues to resonate in today''s culture and politics. Ethnologists, anthropologists, and raciologists compared modern physical types with ancient skeletal finds to unearth the deep prehistoric past and true nature of nations. These scientists understood certain physical types to be what Richard McMahon calls "national races," or the ageless biological essences of nations.

Contributors to this volume address a central tension in anthropological race classification. On one hand, classifiers were nationalists who explicitly or implicitly used race narratives to promote political agendas. Their accounts of prehistoric geopolitics treated "national races" as the proxies of nations in order to legitimize present-day geopolitical positions. On the other hand, the transnational community of race scholars resisted the centrifugal forces of nationalism. Their interdisciplinary project was a vital episode in the development of the social sciences, using biological race classification to explain the history, geography, relationships, and psychologies of nations.

National Races goes to the heart of tensions between nationalism and transnationalism, politics and science, by examining transnational science from the perspective of its peripheries. Contributors to the book supplement the traditional focus of historians on France, Britain, and Germany, with myriad case studies and examples of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century racial and national identities in countries such as Russia, Italy, Poland, Greece, and Yugoslavia, and among Jewish anthropologists.
 
Richard McMahon is a senior lecturer at the University of Portsmouth, United Kingdom. He is the author of The Races of Europe: Construction of National Identities in the Social Sciences, 1839-1939.
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Title:National Races: Transnational Power Struggles in the Sciences and Politics of Human Diversity, 1840-1945
Format:Hardcover
Product dimensions:402 pages, 9.2 X 6 X 1.3 in
Shipping dimensions:402 pages, 9.2 X 6 X 1.3 in
Published:August 1, 2019
Publisher:University Of Nebraska Press
Language:English
Appropriate for ages:All ages
ISBN - 13:9781496205827

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