Alice ConklinIn the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology, and Empire in France, 1850-1950

Cornell University Press, 2013

by Jonathan Judaken on July 29, 2014

Alice Conklin

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[Cross-posted with permission from Jonathan Judaken's Counterpoint on WKNO in Memphis]. Host Jonathan Judaken and author Alice Conklin discuss the thorny relationship between science, society, and empire at the high water mark of French imperialism and European fascism, as well as this neglected chapter in the international history of the human sciences.

In Memphis, and in America generally, we remain haunted by the history of “race” as a concept, and racism as a set of social practices. To gain some perspective on our local history, it is useful to take a step back, both in time and place.

Alice Conklin’s newest book, In the Museum of Man: Race, Anthropology, and Empire in France, 1850-1950 (Cornell University Press, 2013), tells the story of how the discipline of anthropology and Paris’ ethnographic museum par excellence, the Museum of Man, are wound into the history of racial science and colonial conquest, but also ultimately played an important part in undoing scientific racism.

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