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Lecture 4

CHYS 2P38 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Miscegenation, Anthropometry

Child and Youth Studies
Course Code
Tom O' Neill

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Race, Ethnicity and Social Class
- Race is not real/ does not exist
- 19th century’s concept of race was based on the idea that there was a hierarchy
among races
- Some were smarter, physically stronger etc. than those of other races
- Spencer: human societies are evolving parallel to the way biological species
- Believed Caucasian (British) race was superior and fuelled the idea that they
could go and colonize other countries
Slide 2
- “During early years, every civilized man passes through that phase of character
exhibited by the barbarous race for, which he is descended. As the child’s features
– flat nose, forward-opening nostrils, large lips, wide-apart eyes, absent frontal
sinus, resemble those of the savage, so, too do his instincts …The popular idea
that children are ‘‘innocent while it may be true so far as it refers to evil
knowledge, is totally false in so far as it refers to evil impulses, as half an hour’s
observation in the nursery will prove to anyone”
- Young children developing models the development of the lower races (black,
Asian) developing
Civilization and Cerebral Development
- Dunn (1864) argues that Europeans enjoyed whole brain development
- While the other races experienced lesser development
- Applied concept of recapitulation to child development as an explanation for
racial differences
- “Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny”
- Physiological racial differences were minimal in small children, but develop
during adolescence
- Studying the body
- After US civil war made the assumption that cranial (brain) structure development
particularly the ‘closure of the cranial sutures indicated arrested cognitive
- Although slavery was abolished, people still believed African Americans were
biologically inferior to them
- During the US Reconstruction, this became a popular idea and the social science
of the time
African American Children
- Believed to mature earlier and create a conflict for existence between brain
growth and reproductive organ growth at puberty
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