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Nordic vs. anti-Nordic: the Galton Society and the American Anthropological Association

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Spiro discusses the creation of the Galton Society in 1918 by American eugenicist Madison Grant as an alternative to the American Anthropological Association. On a theoretical level, Grant hoped the Galton Society would uphold the primacy of biological determinism against 'the culture idea'. On a more personal level, the purpose of the Galton Society was to provide a refuge for native Protestants who feared that the American Anthropological Association had fallen into the hands of the Jews. While the Galton Society flourished initially, by the early 1930s Franz Boas and his disciples had established cultural determinism as the reigning paradigm in American social science, and the Galton Society quietly dissolved itself in 1935.

Keywords: American Anthropological Association; Franz Boas; Galton Society; Madison Grant; antisemitism; eugenics; nature-nurture debate; scientific racism

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of California at Berkeley, USA

Publication date: 2002-01-01

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