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Anatomists of Empire (Paperback)

Race, Evolution and the Discovery of Human Biology in the British World

Military > By Century > 19th Century

Imprint: Arden
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781925984705
Published: 30th September 2020

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The 20th-century anatomists Grafton Elliot Smith, Frederic Wood Jones and Arthur Keith travelled the globe collecting, cataloguing and constructing morphologies of the biological world with the aim of weaving these into a new vision of bio-ecology that links humans to their deep past as well as their evolutionary niche. They dissected human bodies and scrutinised the living, explaining for the first time the intricacies of human biology. They placed the body in its environment and gave it a history, thus creating an ecological synthesis in striking contrast to the model of humanity that they inherited as students. Their version of human development and history profoundly influenced public opinion as they wrote prolifically for the press; they published bestsellers on human origins and evolution; they spoke eloquently at public meetings and on the radio. They wanted their anatomical insight to shape public policy. And by changing popular views of race and environment, they moulded attitudes as to what it meant to be human in a post-Darwinian world - thus providing a potent critique of racism.

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