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Article: Nazi race theory and belief in an “Aryan race”: a profound failure of interdisciplinary communication

TitleNazi race theory and belief in an “Aryan race”: a profound failure of interdisciplinary communication
Authors
KeywordsRace
Nazism
Aryan
Darwinism
Politics of Science
Issue Date2010
PublisherCommon Ground Publishing. The Journal's web site is located at http://science-society.com/journal/publications/
Citation
The International Journal of Science in Society, 2010, v. 1 n. 4, p. 149-156 How to Cite?
AbstractIn the popular and scientific imagination, Nazi science, in particular theories of race, loom large as a point of reference for discussion of moral issues within science. This paper argues that popular and academic discussion of Nazi race theory has been in general highly misleading, and vitiated by a failure to differentiate between: (1) popular, propagandistic and aesthetic stereotypes of race; (2) racial policies; (3) academic race theory as expounded within scholarly publications in the Third Reich. Since these have not been clearly distinguished, discussion of the relationships between them has of necessity been confused. The case of the “Aryan race” is clear evidence of this confusion, since academic race theorists consistently rejected the notion as unscientific, as did policy makers after 1935. This widespread preconception that Nazism promoted the idea of an Aryan race is based on the popular use of the “Arisch” in the public culture of Nazi Germany. Textbooks on race published in Nazi Germany however routinely rejected the use of “Aryan” as a racial term, pointing out that it derived from the discipline of linguistics. There has been an almost complete lack of communication between scientists, historians and linguists over these key questions, and this has produced a profoundly entrenched set of misunderstandings over such as issues as the relationship between Darwinism and Nazism, ideas about racial purity, hybridity, racial determinism and the ideological contribution of linguistics to Nazism. These misunderstandings echo through wider debates about the politics of science, to the detriment of public debate about the nature of human identity and human diversity.
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/138815
ISSN

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorHutton, CMen_US
dc.date.accessioned2011-09-23T05:38:35Z-
dc.date.available2011-09-23T05:38:35Z-
dc.date.issued2010en_US
dc.identifier.citationThe International Journal of Science in Society, 2010, v. 1 n. 4, p. 149-156en_US
dc.identifier.issn1836-6236-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/138815-
dc.description.abstractIn the popular and scientific imagination, Nazi science, in particular theories of race, loom large as a point of reference for discussion of moral issues within science. This paper argues that popular and academic discussion of Nazi race theory has been in general highly misleading, and vitiated by a failure to differentiate between: (1) popular, propagandistic and aesthetic stereotypes of race; (2) racial policies; (3) academic race theory as expounded within scholarly publications in the Third Reich. Since these have not been clearly distinguished, discussion of the relationships between them has of necessity been confused. The case of the “Aryan race” is clear evidence of this confusion, since academic race theorists consistently rejected the notion as unscientific, as did policy makers after 1935. This widespread preconception that Nazism promoted the idea of an Aryan race is based on the popular use of the “Arisch” in the public culture of Nazi Germany. Textbooks on race published in Nazi Germany however routinely rejected the use of “Aryan” as a racial term, pointing out that it derived from the discipline of linguistics. There has been an almost complete lack of communication between scientists, historians and linguists over these key questions, and this has produced a profoundly entrenched set of misunderstandings over such as issues as the relationship between Darwinism and Nazism, ideas about racial purity, hybridity, racial determinism and the ideological contribution of linguistics to Nazism. These misunderstandings echo through wider debates about the politics of science, to the detriment of public debate about the nature of human identity and human diversity.-
dc.languageengen_US
dc.publisherCommon Ground Publishing. The Journal's web site is located at http://science-society.com/journal/publications/-
dc.relation.ispartofThe International Journal of Science in Societyen_US
dc.rightsThe International Journal of Science in Society. Copyright © Common Ground Publishing.-
dc.rightsNOTICE: Readers must contact Common Ground for permission to reproduce.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subjectRace-
dc.subjectNazism-
dc.subjectAryan-
dc.subjectDarwinism-
dc.subjectPolitics of Science-
dc.titleNazi race theory and belief in an “Aryan race”: a profound failure of interdisciplinary communicationen_US
dc.typeArticleen_US
dc.identifier.emailHutton, CM: chutton@hku.hken_US
dc.identifier.authorityHutton, CM=rp01161en_US
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.hkuros194599en_US
dc.identifier.volume1en_US
dc.identifier.issue4en_US
dc.identifier.spage149en_US
dc.identifier.epage156en_US
dc.publisher.placeUnited States-

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