By Bruce Dain

ISBN-10: 0674009460

ISBN-13: 9780674009462

The highbrow background of race, essentially the most pernicious and enduring rules in American background, has remained segregated into reviews of black or white traditions. Bruce Dain breaks this separatist development with an built-in account of the emergence of contemporary racial attention within the usa from the Revolution to the Civil struggle. A Hideous Monster of the brain unearths that principles on race crossed racial limitations in a procedure that produced not just famous theories of organic racism but in addition countertheories that have been early expressions of cultural relativism, cultural pluralism, and latter-day Afrocentrism. From 1800 to 1830 specifically, race took on a brand new fact as americans, black and white, reacted to postrevolutionary disillusionment, the occasions of the Haitian Revolution, the increase of cotton tradition, and the entrenchment of slavery. Dain examines not just significant white figures like Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Stanhope Smith, but in addition the 1st self-consciously "black" African-American writers. those quite a few thinkers reworked late-eighteenth-century ecu environmentalist "natural historical past" into race theories that mixed tradition and biology and set the phrases for later controversies over slavery and abolition. In these debates, the ethnology of Samuel George Morton and Josiah Nott intertwined conceptually with vital writing via black authors who've been mostly forgotten, like Hosea Easton and James McCune Smith. medical racism and the assumption of races as cultural structures have been therefore interrelated points of a similar attempt to give an explanation for human variations. In retrieving overlooked African-American thinkers, reestablishing the ecu highbrow historical past to American racial thought, and demonstrating the deep confusion "race" brought on for thinkers black and white, A Hideous Monster of the brain bargains an interesting and enlightening new viewpoint on sleek American racial proposal. (20041001)

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Human beings could not discover nature’s true essence. Abstract, deductive reason was more limited still. ” For Jefferson, feeling did not here mean emotion, but sensation, as the rest of the passage made clear: “I feel bodies which are not myself: there are other existences then. I call them matter. I feel them changing place. This gives me motion. Where there is an absence of matter, I call it void, or nothing, or immaterial space. 62 Jefferson seems to have discussed the abstract problem of natural classification only once, thirty years after writing Notes, in a letter to Dr.

Stanhope Smith’s position was almost the mirror image of the recourse beyond reason to faith and right that is found in much early African American writing. There, “blackness” would become an ironic, humble moral superiority, born of suffering, like that of Job before his sophistical friends, whose cleverness counseled despair. Early African American writers saw blackness as related to skin color only incidentally and as a concept deriving from Africans’ experiences in the Atlantic world after the beginnings of the transatlantic slave trade.

Blackness to him was not a word, a figure of speech, a mere description, or historical construct, but a God-given natural entity. Jefferson’s deliberate obscurity regarding “race” in a purportedly scientific discussion was integral to his construction of the American slavery problem as intractable. ¨ RACE AND SENSIBILITY Observe Jefferson’s language at the crucial point in the text: “I advance it as a suspicion only, that the blacks, whether originally a distinct race, or made distinct by time and circumstance, are inferior to whites, both in body and mind.

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A Hideous Monster of the Mind: American Race Theory in the Early Republic by Bruce Dain

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