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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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Reading the Face of Race

Reading the Face of Race

(p.126) Five Reading the Face of Race
Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection

Evelleen Richards

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 5 looks at Darwin’s readings in early ethnological literature, which had tight associations with aesthetics and physiognomy. The writings of Samuel Stanhope Smith and James Cowles Prichard are examined and rejected as sources of Darwin’s early views on the role of aesthetic selection in the formation and stabilization of the human races. It is argued that William Lawrence’s “blasphemous” Lectures, which offered a uniquely materialist, monogenetic theory of racial origins, developed by analogy with domestication, and which located mental and moral differences in anatomy, was Darwin’s major source for this theory of racial divergence. The vital role of the naturalist Edward Blyth in integrating the two forms of sexual selection and bringing Lawrence’s views to Darwin’s attention at two critical stages of theory formation is emphasized.

Keywords:   ethnology, aesthetics, physiognomy, Samuel Stanhope Smith, James Cowles Prichard, William Lawrence, materialist, domestication analogy, racial divergence, Edward Blyth

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