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Science, race relations and resistanceBritain, 1870-1914$
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Douglas A. Lorimer

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780719033575

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719033575.001.0001

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Race, popular science and empire

Race, popular science and empire

(p.108) Chapter Four Race, popular science and empire
Science, race relations and resistance

Douglas Lorimer

Manchester University Press

Studies of imperialism and popular culture have amply demonstrated the omnipresence of the symbols of empire in the metropolis. Conflicts, even local riots, against the presence of ethnic minorities – the Irish, Jews, blacks and Chinese – point to stereotyping and hostility within the populace. Yet it is not clear that popular prejudices had roots in scientific racism. Popular science publications made little use of scientific racist constructions, and displayed some hostility toward the pretences of professional scientists. Racial typologies associated with scientific racism reached a wider audience only in the 1890s with the extensive publications of A. H. Keane who applied his science to contemporary imperial conflicts. With lower prices and the extensive use of photographs, scientific constructions of race reached a wider readership when a sense of crisis led commentators to anticipate that the new twentieth century would be unlike the old. In the multi-racial creations of the imperial project, conflict not stability seemed more apparent. This disordered unnatural world created by the human agency of colonialism could not be comprehended by the science of race, but only by the new language of race relations.

Keywords:   popular culture, natural history, secularism, evolution, race types, photography

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