Race, Racism, and Science
Social Impact and Interaction
by John P. Jackson, Jr. and Nadine M. Weidman Mark A. Largent, Series Editor
October 2004, 403pp, 7x10
1 volume, ABC-CLIO

Hardcover: 978-1-85109-448-6
$91, £70, 80€, A125
eBook Available: 978-1-85109-453-0
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

With the Human Genome Project, science should have put to rest the notion that some races are genetically superior. But science is where the concept of race came from in the first place—through the work of such revered figures as Carl Linnaeus and Charles Darwin—and was ultimately used to justify slavery, segregation, and genocide.

A provocative overview of the history of the race concept in European and American science, based on current research that shows how race and science grew together in Western thought.

What, historically, has the term ‘race’ meant? What is the relationship between the scientific study of race and racism? Race, Racism, and Science: Social Impact and Interaction explores these questions as it recaps the history of race-centered research from its origins in the late 1700s to Darwin’s influential work on natural selection to the present. It is a compelling introduction to the way race science initially gained acceptance and how race studies both reflect and shape their times.

Readers will see how scientific and pseudoscientific explanations of racial differences (social Darwinism, eugenics, craniometry, scientific racism) provided intellectual cover for inhuman acts, and how Ashley Montagu, Richard Lewontin, and other 20th-century antiracists fought to refute the scientific support of bigotry.


  • Extensive bibliographic essays citing not only original scientific papers dating back to the 18th century, but also current research into the social and historical contexts from which that work emerged
  • Biographical sketches of the most important figures in race science, from François Bernier and Mamie Phipps Clark to Gordon W. Allport and Ashley Montagu
John P. Jackson, Jr., PhD, teaches in the Department of Communication at the University of Colorado—Boulder, Boulder, CO. His published works include Social Scientists for Social Justice: Making the Case against Segregation and he is the editor of Science, Race, and Ethnicity: Readings from Isis and Osiris.

Nadine M. Weidman, PhD, teaches history of science at the Harvard University Extension School in Cambridge, MA. Her published works include Constructing Scientific Psychology: Karl Lashley's Mind-Brain Debates.


"The authors . . . offer a general synthesis of the enormous literature on the topic in bibliographic essays, and a narrative overview of the history of race ideology . . . Recommended. Secondary school and undergraduate libraries."—Choice, March 1, 2005
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