Chapter

What Do We Know about Scientific and Popular Concepts of Race?

Ann Morning

in The Nature of Race

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2011 | ISBN: 9780520270305
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520950146 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520270305.003.0002
What Do We Know about Scientific and Popular Concepts of Race?

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Historians, sociologists, and anthropologists have granted rich accounts of “rare science” and its practitioners, past and present. This chapter brings together both bodies of literature in order to familiarize readers with the state of contemporary research on American race notions. The ensuing overview illustrates how light the literature on racial conceptualization is. It also identifies important shortfalls that future research should address. Historians and others have investigated race concepts of the past by exploring scientific publications, newspaper articles, legal documents, census documents, census schedules, cartoons, novels, and other records of public discourse. There was not much of a divide between scientific and lay notions of race, for the simple reason that the social distinction between scientist and layperson was once less sharp. The possession of science through much of the nineteenth century was equated with knowledge of God's creation, and thus American academics sought to reconcile their observations with theological doctrine.

Keywords: sociologists; anthropologists; census schedules; historians; theological doctrine

Chapter.  15085 words. 

Subjects: Race and Ethnicity

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