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The Moment of Racial SightA History$
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Irene Tucker

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780226922935

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226922959.001.0001

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Kant’s Dermatology or, The Racialization of Skin

Kant’s Dermatology or, The Racialization of Skin

(p.15) One Kant’s Dermatology or, The Racialization of Skin
The Moment of Racial Sight

Irene Tucker

University of Chicago Press

Robert Willan’s 1809 On Cutaneous Diseases is a volume that consolidated writings on skin diseases into a single body of knowledge—a work that established Willan as the nominal founder of dermatology. The chapter makes the case, then, that Willan’s taxonomy of skin disease and the emergence of a modern, skin-centered model of racial difference are conceptually linked. This is not to say that Willan’s division of skin diseases and the racial division of humans is straightforwardly linked, but rather that Willan brought a certain level of awareness of the skin that renders it the immediately visible sign of racial distinction. Perhaps the genealogy of modern race might be found within a history of skin.

Keywords:   Robert Willan, On Cutaneous Diseases, founder of dermatology, Willan’s taxonomy of skin disease, racial division, history of skin

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