February 14 – Race, Ethnicity & Gender in Democracy
Race-Making and the Nation-State – Anthony Marx
!States make race. What, how, why?
Eugenics – 1) Races exist and they are different 2) Some are superior and inferior than others 3)
A project of the human race involving breeding out the inferior races.
Eugenicists spent a lot of time measuring body parts, so that people could be classified by
distinct biological identities.
World fairs exhibited human zoos, where primitive people were brought to the fair and placed in
recreated environments. They were meant to educated Europeans on the different types of
Saartjie (or Sara) Baartman: 1789-1815
In US eugenics validated slavery. By the end of WWII, eugenics was finished. But it had it’s
high point during Nazi Germany. Because of the holocaust and the experiments done during that
period, eugenics because delegitimized. It became morally unacceptable.
Scientists found that there is .01% genetic variations within the human population, and this
difference can be found within racial groups. Only 8% is found within the various continents.
Populations that are historically isolated, then you may find genetic similarities within that
population. But there are two levels on which to say that race doesn’t exist: 1) There are more
variation between people of the same race as a different race 2) Skin colour does not map on to
characterizes that are relevant to study.
Race does not exist. That is the point of all this genetic work.
And yet, of course, it does exist. If race does not have it’s origin in genetic orientations, then
where does it come from, and why is it so important? Biology and genetics do not make race.
We turn instead to history. The history of race starts in the precolonial period of discovery, and
traders come into contact with people from other continents, and they notice their differences.
The distinction that was initially made was that the others were heathen, and whether they were
Christian or non Christian. This is very different than the eugenic differences of race that
followed. The main difference is that the early form of race is not permanent, they can be
Christianized and civilized. It was because they weren’t Christian that justified the slave trade
and colonialism. They were human, but they were child-like. For some, natives were not able to
govern themselves because they were essentially children. This fixed on to colonialism and