Race Science, Racism and Scientific Racialism in the 19th Century Britain

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Five excellent books on the subject of race science and its discourse in the 19th century Britain, written by reliable and respected scholars, though still accessible to a general reader with a keen interest in this topic. Whilst one may be thinking that the focus of these books on Britain can be seen as limiting one, it is not so, since the 19th century, and, more specifically, the second half of the 19th century had marked a critical turn in Britain’s scientific debate about race and its role in subsequent shift in imperial policy all around the world. Equally important, several foundational ideas and concepts had been used, re-shaped and re-interpreted by later racial theorists from Britain, continental Europe, and the US, forming infamous toxic racist theories, bleeding into the 20th century. Thus, anyone interested in the development of racist beliefs may be inclined to explore the crucial period, which, sometimes unintentionally-sometimes intentionally, laid the foundations for the later culmination and establishment of pseudo-scientific and popular racism. In order to understand these later political, cultural, social and pseudo-scientific manifestations of racial misconceptions, it is important, if one wishes to know the ‘whole story’, to dive into these excellent books.

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