From Savage to Negro: Anthropology and the Construction of Race, 1896-1954

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University of California Press, 1998 - Social Science - 325 pages
2 Reviews
Lee D. Baker explores what racial categories mean to the American public and how these meanings are reinforced by anthropology, popular culture, and the law. Focusing on the period between two landmark Supreme Court decisions—Plessy v. Ferguson (the so-called "separate but equal" doctrine established in 1896) and Brown v. Board of Education (the public school desegregation decision of 1954)—Baker shows how racial categories change over time.

Baker paints a vivid picture of the relationships between specific African American and white scholars, who orchestrated a paradigm shift within the social sciences from ideas based on Social Darwinism to those based on cultural relativism. He demonstrates that the greatest impact on the way the law codifies racial differences has been made by organizations such as the NAACP, which skillfully appropriated the new social science to exploit the politics of the Cold War.
  

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Baker argues that anthropology played a pivotal role in the institution of racism in the US Read full review

Contents

Introduction
1
History and Theory of a Racialized Worldview
11
The Ascension of Anthropology as Social Darwinism
26
Anthropology in American Popular Culture
54
ProgressiveEra Reform
81
Rethinking Race at the Turn of the Century
99
The New Negro and Cultural Politics of Race
127
Looking behind the Veil with the Spy Glass of Anthropology
143
Unraveling the Boasian Discourse
168
Anthropology and the Fourteenth Amendment
188
The ColorBlind Bind
208
Appendix
229
Notes
239
Bibliography
287
Index
313
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Lee D. Baker is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and African American Studies at Columbia University and Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Duke University.

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