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Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection$
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Evelleen Richards

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226436906

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226437064.001.0001

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The Ugly Brother

The Ugly Brother

(p.3) One The Ugly Brother
Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection

Evelleen Richards

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 1 analyses the defining moment of Darwin’s conception of sexual selection: his lived experience of savage encounter with the indigenes of Tierra del Fuego during the voyage of the Beagle. It is argued that his early adoption of the view that the different human races had different in-born, heritable standards of beauty or aesthetic taste, a view that underpinned his notion of aesthetic choice in animals, was founded in Darwin’s reconciliation of his liberal abolitionist background with a pervasive contemporary “visual ideology” that had some commonalities with later biological racism.

Keywords:   savage encounter, Tierra del Fuego, Beagle, racial difference, heritable standards of beauty, aesthetic choice, abolitionist background, visual ideology, biological racism

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