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Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany$
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Andrew Zimmerman

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780226983417

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226983462.001.0001

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Anthropological Patriotism: The Schulstatistik and the Racial Composition of Germany

Anthropological Patriotism: The Schulstatistik and the Racial Composition of Germany

(p.135) Chapter 6 Anthropological Patriotism: The Schulstatistik and the Racial Composition of Germany
Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany
University of Chicago Press

In addition to presenting a model for political and intellectual culture in the Kaiserreich, anthropology contributed to a reconstruction of German nationalism. In the 1870s, the German Anthropological Society persuaded the German states to record the hair, eye, and skin color of over 6 million German schoolchildren to determine the fate of the fair-skinned, blond, blue-eyed “classic Teutons” (classische Erscheinungen des Germanen) described by Tacitus and the origins of the brown-skinned, brown-haired, brown-eyed individuals who had become so preponderant in Germany. The survey produced important anthropological knowledge about the nation, particularly that Germans were a blond, blue-eyed, and white-skinned “race,” which was contrasted to brunet “races,” particularly Jews. Anthropologists thus made their notions of race, which they had developed in studies of non-Europeans, relevant also to European identity. Instead of Humboldt's nation of scholars or Fichte's linguistic notion of Germanness, anthropologists disseminated a biological national identity, one that would have importance for subsequent developments in German history.

Keywords:   political culture, German nationalism, patriotism, race, non-Europeans, national identity

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