Darwinism, Democracy, and Race

Book cover for Darwinism, Democracy, and Race

This is the cover of my new book, just published with David Depew, the noted philospher of biology.  Writing a book with David has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done in my academic career. It has been a real pleasure to produce this book with him and I’m very proud of our work. Get your copy today!

Publisher’s Description:

Darwinism, Democracy, and Race examines the development and defence of an argument that arose at the boundary between anthropology and evolutionary biology in twentieth-century America. In its fully articulated form, this argument simultaneously discredited scientific racism and defended free human agency in Darwinian terms.

The volume is timely because it gives readers a key to assessing contemporary debates about the biology of race. By working across disciplinary lines, the book’s focal figures–the anthropologist Franz Boas, the cultural anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, the geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky, and the physical anthropologist Sherwood Washburn–found increasingly persuasive ways of cutting between genetic determinist and social constructionist views of race by grounding Boas’s racially egalitarian, culturally relativistic, and democratically pluralistic ethic in a distinctive version of the genetic theory of natural selection. Collaborators in making and defending this argument included Ashley Montagu, Stephen Jay Gould, and Richard Lewontin.

Darwinism, Democracy, and Race will appeal to advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and academics interested in subjects including Philosophy, Critical Race Theory, Sociology of Race, History of Biology and Anthropology, and Rhetoric of Science.

Get your copy today!  What? Still not sold? How about these fantastic endorsements from world-renowned scholars (to whom David and I are tremendously grateful for their generosity):

Around the middle of the last century, evolutionary biology changed to become compatible with and even enable liberal-democratic and antiracist values. In their important book, Jackson and Depew recount the story of this crucial alliance. At a time of profound changes in both the political arena and the biological understanding of gene functioning and heredity, this alliance may look, in retrospect, more fragile and unstable than what we used to believe. Knowing deeply its contingent making and deep entanglement with wider anthropological and socio-political debates remains an essential tool to understand our present. Maurizio Meloni, author of Political Biology: Science and Social Values in Human Heredity from Eugenics to Epigenetics, Palgrave.

Science historians have long tended to stop at Darwin, and are only now begin-ning to open up the last century of the science of human evolution to critical historical analysis. In this literate and accessible new book, Jackson and Depew lead us through a marvelously intricate and intertwined intellectual history involving cultural anthropology, biological anthropology, population genetics, evolutionary biology, and racial studies. They scrupulously analyze the work of scholars like Alfred Kroeber, Ashley Montagu, Sherwood Washburn, and Theodosius Dobiliansky, and challenge the facile alt-histories that circulate in contemporary evolutionary psychology. This is an important addition to the library of anyone seriously interested in how we think about human origins and diversity. Jonathan Marks, Professor of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, USA.

Jackson and Depew have produced an important work: a muscular refutation of scientific racism, grounded in science and deploying the tools of the historian. Through rich new readings of the work of five central geneticists and anthropologists, they show that inoculation with the Modern Synthesis of evolutionary biology immunized biological anthropology against racist genetic determinism, leading this group of scientists toward a more egalitarian human biology. Anyone sympathetic to the idea that racial superiority is “in the genes” needs to confront this book. And those of us who find ourselves repeatedly whacking the mole of racist science now have a solid new mallet. Nathaniel Comfort, Professor of the History of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Still not convinced? What possible reason could you have?  The cost? OK,, I realize it costs $140. “Who does he think I am? Martin Shkreli?”  No, you are better than that. And Martin Shkreli isn’t even Martin Shkreli anymore, proving that there is some justice in the world. And if you haven’t read these delightful excerpts from the jury selection process, you really should.

Um…..  Getting back to my point. When you put the cost of our book in the context of other things you can get for $140, the price seems very reasonable. For example: 10 things for about the same price as our book that our book is better than:

  1. 140 grams of mail-order truffles. First, our you get a lot more  grams of our book per dollar. Second, these aren’t even the famed black, winter truffles! Wait for December! Our book is ready to go!
  2. A used Betamax player. Have you ever seen a Betamax tape for sale at Goodwill?  Stick with your VHS player, like the rest of us! Our book doesn’t even require a player! Unless you buy the ebook version!  Then it does!
  3. A copy of Lizards of Sri Lanka. I’m sure you can get it cheaper once you get to Sri Lanka. I’m not ever sure our book is available in Sri Lanka so you’d best get it now.
  4. A Bridal Sash, First, $140 just gets you a sash, not even the whole dress.  Second, the whole Wedding Industrial Complex is capitalist patriarchy and should be resisted. Our book could help with that resistance.
  5. A starter for a 1962 Plymouth Fury. Who are you kidding? You are never going to get that thing running. Just get it out of the garage, for cryin’ out loud.
  6. Staub 1 Quart Round Teapot. Notice how they don’t tell you how much it weighs? It is cast iron: it’s gonna weigh a ton empty, let alone filled with water. Our book is light and pleasant to hold.
  7. Mitchell No Hammer™ Clamp Machine. To be honest, I’m not sure what this is or what you do with it. But I’m pretty sure our book is better.
  8. Hansa Giraffe Stuffed Animal. OK, this is pretty cool. Why not splurge and get our book AND the giraffe?
  9. Approximately 38 ounces of Carolina Reaper Chili Flakes. Yeah, I know, you want to be macho and get a bunch of the World’s Hottest Chili. But it is so hot that a single flake is enough for a whole pot of chili (the soup/stew, not the plant). You’ll never use it all; your great-grandkids will inherit this stuff if you buy it.  They could also inherit our book, if you bought it.
  10. This. It’s like I don’t even know you anymore, dude.

In closing:  Get your copy today! And gift-giving season will be upon us soon, so get your loved ones their copy today!

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

7 thoughts on “Darwinism, Democracy, and Race

  1. Pingback: BOOK: Darwinism, Democracy, and Race: American Anthropology and Evolutionary Biology in the Twentieth Century | The Dispersal of Darwin

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