Measuring Prejudice: Race Sciences of the 18-19th Centuries


Aesthetic differences between geographically displaced groups of people could not go unsettled, according to the European scientists, so afraid of the “Other.” This book will show the causes, effects, and perpetuations of the scientific racism employed to gain “knowledge” and fact in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. During the Enlightenment, scientists of Europe developed three general practices to classify and solidify the visual differences of people who appeared differently-pigmented or physically shaped than what the White scientist had always been used to. These philosophers and physiologists used Craniology, Phrenology, and Physiognomy to study how they might best pin down the physical differences of people into a racial group, unquestionable under the protection of scientific fact.

    The three areas study the size, shape, and dimensions of the head to determine things like character, intellect, and skill. Despite the lack of real empirical evidence to back up these claims, the three disciplines were very popular areas of study. The books and journals produced by these pseudoscientists were best sellers in their class, and we still look at them today, although through a much different lens than in the period it was released. Contemporarily, the works were unbiased works of science. Now, however, we view them as politically incorrect and as a warning to not let history repeat itself.



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