Polygenism

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Polygenism

 

a theory that views human races as different species having separate origins. Some advocates of polygenism contended that present-day mankind is represented not only by several species but even by several genera. Polygenism was used as the basis for various racist notions about the biological and intellectual inequality of human races. In the mid-19th century, for instance, the advocates of polygenism justified the legality of the slave trade. The untenability of polygenism is demonstrated by the similarity of various major characteristics, such as the structure of the hand and brain, among the races of modern man.

REFERENCES

Roginskii, la. Ia., and M. G. Levin. Antropologiia. Moscow, 1963.
Nesturkh, M. F. Proiskhozhdenie cheloveka, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970.
References in periodicals archive ?
Nott, Professor of Anatomy at the University of Louisiana, also a member of the polygenist inner circle, was well known for his public lectures on 'Niggerology', resided in Mobile, Alabama.
In this sentiment d'Eichthal reflects his investment in the polygenist theories that competed for hegemony in the developing race thinking of his day, a time when preoccupations with the innate characteristics of race flourished.
Graves 2005a points out that Charles Darwin was actually one of first naturalists to dispute the claim of the polygenists that there were separate species of humans.
Southern politicians such as Jefferson Davis, Thomas Clingman, and James Henry Hammond all used polygenists arguments in speeches and correspondence.
Hybridity was central to both monogenist and polygenist theories as a criterion defining the boundaries between species of animals and possibly also between races of people: members of the same species were interfertile while those of different species usually were not.
The vocal minority of polygenist theorists who most affected discussions in the SEP were the physician Julien-Joseph Virey (1775-1846), the military officer and naturalist J.
Like many Southern clergymen, Bachman was affronted by the polygenist challenge to Genesis and was shocked to hear Agassiz support Nott.
The polygenist idea of races as originally and essentially distinct was a harbinger of the Nazi ideology.
To root the new industrial civilization of the 19th century in this alternative history, European intellectuals - a cast of characters ranging from Thomas Carlyle to the Brothers Grimm - now began to reconstruct the histories of different racial types, building on a bewildering variety of shaky monogenist, polygenist, transformist, creationist, vestigialist, environmentalist, and evolutionist authorities.
At the same time, however, he rejects any polygenist defense of racial inequality--for example, the argument that because they did not descend from the same pair, the various human races need not be considered a single species and thus equal.
As Stocking notes, the most important point for many commentators on kinship at this time, and clearly Fison was among them, was the suggestion of dispersion across climatic zones which challenged the polygenist insistence that human groups arose separately (1995:18).
The possibility of a new `race' hints at much older polygenist evolutionary ideas, but it also exhibits some of the ideas at work in Keith's (1948:419-20) construction of the ongoing evolution of new races.