Evolution and Social Sciences Seminar

Monday, March 11, 2019 12:00pm

171 Bond Life Sciences Center

Erik Peterson

The Evolution and Social Sciences Seminar presents, Erik Peterson, assistant professor, University of Alabama, Department of History, "Darwin, Wallace, and racist birth of anthropology," Monday, March 11, 12-1:30pm at 171 Bond Life Sciences Center.

Abstract: The origins and development of human race preoccupied Charles Darwin. His insistence that all human groups shared a relatively recent common ancestor put him out of step with many of his scientific peers. Soon after the publication of Origin of Species, Darwin found himself involved in a controversy regarding the relative value of different human racial groups. Darwin’s side, the “Ethnologicals,” argued that variation was subordinate to the deep similarities between races. A younger, more outspoken group of “Anthropologicals” dismissed the Ethnologicals as too conservative. They argued that each human group had an independent origin and that Europeans were the most advanced race. Alfred Russel Wallace attempted to heal the rift between these two sides, but his resolution bothered Darwin. Darwin’s frustration over the birth of anthropology led in part to Darwin’s Descent of Man.