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Race and the Genetic RevolutionScience, Myth, and Culture$
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Sheldon Krimsky and Kathleen Sloan

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156974

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156974.001.0001

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A Short History of the Race Concept

A Short History of the Race Concept

Chapter:
(p.13) 1 A Short History of the Race Concept
Source:
Race and the Genetic Revolution
Author(s):

Michael Yudell

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231156974.003.0001

This chapter describes the role played by scientific thought, from the late eighteenth century through to the twentieth century, in developing a language to measure the meaning of human difference in the form of race. It explores how many scientists came to reject this concept in the twentieth century. The concept of race traces its roots from the consideration of the nature of human difference. Ancient civilizations such as Greece and Rome divided people between the civic and the barbarous, and between the political citizen and those “outside.” It was only towards the end of the Middle Ages that the idea of categorization based on human variations in blood or in kinship was accepted. The twentieth century saw another dimension of race as the studies of human genetics began to flourish. The chapter concludes with a brief examination of the current state of racial thinking in biology.

Keywords:   scientific thought, eighteenth century, twentieth century, human difference, race, human variation, categorization, human genetics, racial thinking

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