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With the rise of imperialism, the centuries-old European tradition of humanist scholarship as the key to understanding the world was jeopardized. 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 sci With the rise of imperialism, the centuries-old European tradition of humanist scholarship as the key to understanding the world was jeopardized. 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. Drawing on sources ranging from scientific papers and government correspondence to photographs, pamphlets, and police reports of "freak shows," Zimmerman demonstrates how German imperialism opened the door to antihumanism. 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. Scholars of anthropology, European and intellectual history, museum studies, the history of science, popular culture, and colonial studies will welcome this book.


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With the rise of imperialism, the centuries-old European tradition of humanist scholarship as the key to understanding the world was jeopardized. 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 sci With the rise of imperialism, the centuries-old European tradition of humanist scholarship as the key to understanding the world was jeopardized. 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. Drawing on sources ranging from scientific papers and government correspondence to photographs, pamphlets, and police reports of "freak shows," Zimmerman demonstrates how German imperialism opened the door to antihumanism. 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. Scholars of anthropology, European and intellectual history, museum studies, the history of science, popular culture, and colonial studies will welcome this book.

34 review for Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany

  1. 4 out of 5

    Yang

    A must-read even if (or especially because) it tells an uneasy history that left true impacts. The "antihumanism" here refers to early anthropological practitioners in imperial Germany, who were mostly natural scientists, physicians, geographers, and museum-based scholars/amateurs. They were against the "humanists" who were professors of canons who were based in universities. The debate about the distinction between nature and history became urgent in the political struggles of the Kulturkampf i A must-read even if (or especially because) it tells an uneasy history that left true impacts. The "antihumanism" here refers to early anthropological practitioners in imperial Germany, who were mostly natural scientists, physicians, geographers, and museum-based scholars/amateurs. They were against the "humanists" who were professors of canons who were based in universities. The debate about the distinction between nature and history became urgent in the political struggles of the Kulturkampf in the 1870s. The author also mentions briefly the changes of political urgencies in the 20th century -- that is to fight against fascism and the rise of Bacon empiricism in that context.

  2. 5 out of 5

    behemothing

    This book's got pictures.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Alain de la Perche

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  5. 4 out of 5

    Steven McClellan

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wempewolf86

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  22. 5 out of 5

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  31. 5 out of 5

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  32. 5 out of 5

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  33. 5 out of 5

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