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Anthropology and antihumanism in imperial Germany

Zimmerman, Andrew
Anthropology and antihumanism in imperial Germany
Anthropology and antihumanism in imperial Germany

Anthropology and antihumanism in imperial Germany

Zimmerman, Andrew
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The rise of imperialism jeopardized the centuries-old European tradition of humanist scholarship as the key to understanding the world. Nowhere was this more true than in nineteenth-century Germany. It was there, Andrew Zimmerman argues, that the battle lines of today's "culture wars" were first drawn when anthropology challenged humanism as a basi...
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The rise of imperialism jeopardized the centuries-old European tradition of humanist scholarship as the key to understanding the world. Nowhere was this more true than in nineteenth-century Germany. It was there, Andrew Zimmerman argues, that the battle lines of today's "culture wars" were first drawn when anthropology challenged humanism as a basis for human scientific knowledge. As Germans interacted more frequently with peoples and objects from far-flung cultures, they were forced to reevaluate not just those peoples, but also the construction of German identity itself. Anthropologists successfully argued that their discipline addressed these issues more productively -- and more accessibly -- than humanistic studies. Zimmerman draws on sources ranging from scientific papers and government correspondence to photographs, pamphlets, and police reports of "freak shows" to demonstrate how German imperialism opened the door to antihumanism. Scholars of anthropology, European and intellectual history, museum studies, the history of science, popular culture, and colonial studies will welcome this book.