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Boasian Critiques of Race in The Nation, by Franz Boas, et al., edited by Alex Golub and Angela Chen, with an introduction by Richard Handler

Item Summary

Title: Boasian Critiques of Race in The Nation, by Franz Boas, et al., edited by Alex Golub and Angela Chen, with an introduction by Richard Handler
Authors: Boas, Franz
Herskovits, Melville
Sapir, Edward
Bercovici, Konrad
Van Loon, Hendrik Willem
show 5 moreGoldenweiser, Alexander
Barnes, Harry Elmer
Golub, Alex
Chen, Angela
Handler, Richard

show less
Keywords: race
scientific racism
immigrants
LC Subject Headings: Physical anthropology
Issue Date: 24 Jun 2014
Series/Report no.: Savage Minds Occasional Papers No. 12
Abstract: This series of 7 essays by Franz Boas, his students and those in his circle of liberal New York City intellectuals, appeared in The Nation in 1925. Boas had for years been fighting against the rising tide of scientific racism that triumphed with the passage of the Johnson Immigration Bill in April 1924, the second such bill in three years to restrict entrance to the U.S. on the basis of race. But Boas continued his work as a public intellectual, critiquing the “myth” behind the bill
and mobilizing his colleagues to do the same. In these essays, Boas and his students—Edward Sapir, Melville Herskovits and Alexander Goldenweiser—rehearsed the main tenets of the Boasian consensus: that race “antagonism” is not instinctive; that American racial categories could not be correlated with fixed biological facts; that “civilization” included “contributions” from all peoples (not just the “Nordics”); that there was no relationship between a people’s cultural achievements and the biology of the group; and that such sciences as eugenics were little more than rationalizations of commonsense prejudices (as Sapir put it, the “heated desire” of racists “subdued to the becoming coolness of a technical vocabulary”). The series is rounded out by the inclusion of essays by the Columbia-trained historian Harry Elmer Barnes (who published several standard textbooks on American and Western civilization), the popular historian Hendrik Willem van Loon (whose children’s book, The Story of Mankind, won the first Newberry Medal in 1922), and the journalist and travel writer Konrad Bercovici, whose romantic appreciation of peoples scorned by proponents of the Nordic myth is evident in his contribution.
Pages/Duration: 36
URI/DOI: http://hdl.handle.net/10524/46197
Rights: This original work is copyright by Alex Golub, 2014. The author has issued the work under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license. This introduction to this work is copyright by Richard Handler, 2014. The author has issued the work under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States license. You are free • to share - to copy, distribute and transmit the work • to remix - to adapt the work Under the following conditions • attribution - you must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author • noncommercial - you may not use this work for commercial purposes • share alike - if you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one
Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States
Appears in Collections:Mana'o - Papers on Anthropology



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