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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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Critical Years: From Pigeons to People

Critical Years: From Pigeons to People

(p.291) Ten Critical Years: From Pigeons to People
Darwin and the Making of Sexual Selection

Evelleen Richards

University of Chicago Press

Chapter 10 discusses Darwin’s evolving views on sexual selection in a period of mounting racial and sexual tension in which a heightened sense of national identity reinforced the racial and gender superiority of the white middle-class male. It examines how Darwin drew upon the writings of the new racial determinists, notably the race theorist Robert Knox and the polygenists Josiah Nott and George Gliddon, in reaffirming his earlier Lawrence-derived thesis of an aesthetic factor in the differentiation of gender, class and race and discusses the relation of Darwin’s pigeon keeping to this.

Keywords:   pigeon keeping, sexual selection, racial tension, national identity, gender, racial determinists, polygenists, Josiah Nott, George Gliddon, Robert Knox

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