Chapter

Hunt's Racist Anthropology

Ter Ellingson

in The Myth of the Noble Savage

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2001 | ISBN: 9780520222687
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520925922 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520222687.003.0015
Hunt's Racist Anthropology

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James Hunt had developed an interest in ethnology by 1854, when he “became a disciple” of Dr. Robert Knox, promoter of the doctrine that “race is everything in human affairs.” For Hunt, the great struggle between hereditarian privilege and egalitarianism should have been acted out in the drama of the slavery conflict; or, as the conflict stirred the feelings and consciences of other scholars, Hunt should have been drawn into the conflict as a defender of the scientific “truth” of racial superiority. This chapter argues that race is a popular and political myth which privileges superficial bundles of obvious phenotypic traits over the complexities of underlying genotypes. Yet Hunt strove his mightiest to make it the basis of anthropological science.

Keywords: James Hunt; racism; Robert Knox; slavery conflict; racial superiority; egalitarianism; racist myth; anthropological science

Chapter.  6467 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social and Cultural Anthropology

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