Reproduction, Race, and Gender in Philosophy and the Early Life Sciences
179 pages
English

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179 pages
English

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Description

Focusing on the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, this volume highlights the scientific and philosophical inquiry into heredity and reproduction and the consequences of these developing ideas on understandings of race and gender. Neither the life sciences nor philosophy had fixed disciplinary boundaries at this point in history. Kant, Hegel, and Schelling weighed in on these questions alongside scientists such as Caspar Friedrich Wolff, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, and Karl Ernst von Baer. The essays in this volume chart the development of modern gender polarizations and a naturalized, scientific understanding of gender and race that absorbed and legitimized cultural assumptions about difference and hierarchy.
Introduction
Susanne Lettow

Part I. Reproduction and the Early Life Sciences

1. Generation, Genealogy, and Time: The Concept of Reproduction from Histoire naturelle to Naturphilosophie
Susanne Lettow

2. Organic Molecules, Parasites, Urthiere: The Controversial Nature of Spermatic Animals, 1749–1841
Florence Vienne

3. The Scientific Construction of Gender and Generation in the German Late Enlightenment and in German Romantic Naturphilosophie
Peter Hanns Reill

4. Zeugungl Fortpflanzung: Distinctions of Medium in the Discourse on Generation around 1800
Jocelyn Holland

5. Treviranus’ Biology: Generation, Degeneration, and the Boundaries of Life
Joan Steigerwald

Part II. Articulations of Race and Gender

6. Skin Color and the Origin of Physical Anthropology (1640–1850)
Renato G. Mazzolini

7. The Caucasian Slave Race: Beautiful Circassians and the Hybrid Origin of European Identity
Sara Figal

8. Analogy of Analogy: Animals and Slaves in Mary Wollstonecraft’s Defense of Women’s Rights
Penelope Deutscher

9. Reproducing Difference: Race and Heredity from a longue durée Perspective
Staffan Müller-Wille

10. Heredity and Hybridity in the Natural History of Kant, Girtanner, and Schelling during the 1790s
Robert Bernasconi

11. Sexual Polarity in Schelling and Hegel
Alison Stone

About the Contributors
Index

Sujets

Informations

Publié par
Date de parution 10 janvier 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781438449500
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,1648€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

Exrait

REPRODUCTION, RACE, AND GENDER
IN PHILOSOPHY AND THE EARLY LIFE SCIENCES
SUNY SERIES , P HILOSOPHY AND R ACE
Robert Bernasconi and T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting, editors
REPRODUCTION, RACE, AND GENDER
IN PHILOSOPHY AND THE EARLY LIFE SCIENCES
Edited by
SUSANNE LETTOW
Published by State University of New York Press, Albany
© 2014 State University of New York
All rights reserved
Printed in the United States of America
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission. No part of this book may be stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.
For information, contact State University of New York Press, Albany, NY
www.sunypress.edu
Production by Dana Foote Marketing by Michael Campochiaro
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Reproduction, race, and gender in philosophy and the early life sciences / edited by Susanne Lettow.
pages cm.—(SUNY series, Philosophy and race)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 978-1-4384-4949-4 (alk. paper)
1. Race—Philosophy 2. Human reproduction—Philosophy 3. Sex—Philosophy I. Lettow, Susanne, editor of compilation.
HT1521.R456 2014
305.8001—dc23
2013005360
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
CONTENTS
Introduction
S USANNE L ETTOW
PART I. REPRODUCTION AND THE EARLY LIFE SCIENCES
1. Generation, Genealogy, and Time: The Concept of Reproduction from Histoire naturelle to Naturphilosophie
S USANNE L ETTOW
2. Organic Molecules, Parasites, Urthiere : The Controversial Nature of Spermatic Animals, 1749–1841
F LORENCE V IENNE
3. The Scientific Construction of Gender and Generation in the German Late Enlightenment and in German Romantic Naturphilosophie
P ETER H ANNS R EILL
4. Zeugung / Fortpflanzung : Distinctions of Medium in the Discourse on Generation around 1800
J OCELYN H OLLAND
5. Treviranus’ Biology : Generation, Degeneration, and the Boundaries of Life
J OAN S TEIGERWALD
PART II. ARTICULATIONS OF RACE AND GENDER
6. Skin Color and the Origin of Physical Anthropology (1640–1850)
R ENATO G. M AZZOLINI
7. The Caucasian Slave Race: Beautiful Circassians and the Hybrid Origin of European Identity
S ARA F IGAL
8. Analogy of Analogy: Animals and Slaves in Mary Wollstonecraft’s Defense of Women’s Rights
P ENELOPE D EUTSCHER
9. Reproducing Difference: Race and Heredity from a longue durée Perspective
S TAFFAN M ÜLLER -W ILLE
10. Heredity and Hybridity in the Natural History of Kant, Girtanner, and Schelling during the 1790s
R OBERT B ERNASCONI
11. Sexual Polarity in Schelling and Hegel
A LISON S TONE
About the Contributors
Index
INTRODUCTION
SUSANNE LETTOW
I n recent decades, the formation of the concept of race in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries has attracted much scholarly interest particularly in the history of science, philosophy, and literary studies. At the same time, the naturalization of gender differences, which went hand in hand with the emerging life sciences, has been widely studied and criticized. However, the concept of race and the naturalized, scientific understanding of gender have rarely been studied in relation to each other, although their co-emergence is not just a question of simultaneity. At the end of the eighteenth century, the two ideas play a central role in the process of the temporalization of nature and the emergence of the life sciences. In particular, scientific understandings of race and gender are constituted and disputed within the debates on procreation, generation, and heredity that take place during the period. Race and gender 1 are thus closely connected to the new focus on diachronic processes of propagation and on long-term successions of individuals, which—in the second half of the eighteenth century—came to be articulated by the neologism reproduction . 2 However, the fact that concepts of race and gender co-emerged within the “procreation discourse” (Jocelyn Holland) of the late eighteenth century does not mean that they did so in parallel or homologous ways. On the contrary, connections between race, gender , and reproduction , which were of central importance for population politics later in the nineteenth century, were dispersed and unstable during the period.
The aim of this volume is to inquire into processes of the co-emergence of the concepts of race, gender, and reproduction in the decades around 1800—a period when all these concepts were in the making. To explore both continuities and discontinuities with subsequent biopolitical discourses, the volume examines specific configurations of biological and philosophical knowledge within their cultural and political contexts at the beginning of modernity. Philosophical discourse is a main focus of this inquiry because of its paramount influence in shaping the emerging field of the life sciences and because philosophy itself was reshaped in this process. The volume therefore not only contributes to a contextualist understanding of the life sciences, but also questions a modern, purified understanding of philosophical discourse by resituating it in the scientific and cultural contexts within which it emerged.
When, in the course of the eighteenth century, philosophers and scientists started to question the mechanistic understanding of nature and to identify a particular realm of nature where mechanic laws did not—or at least not sufficiently—apply, they envisaged “another world,” as Charles Bonnet put it, “a new spectacle” (Abraham Trembley), or “a new nature” (Pierre-Louis Moreau de Maupertuis). 3 The capacities to reproduce, or self-generate and self-organize, soon became the crucial characteristics of the natural entities that belonged to this new realm of “living” nature. As Kant famously pointed out in the second part of the Critique of Judgment , an “organized being,” which must be regarded as Naturzweck (natural purpose), is characterized by the fact that it is “of itself” cause and effect. 4 Kant gives the example of a tree, which is defined by its capacities of reproduction, growth, and regeneration or self-preservation. 5 In a certain sense, the whole enterprise of the temporalization of nature builds on the concept of reproduction, that is, on an understanding of procreation and generation that takes into account temporal change, the emergence of something new, and thus moves away from preformationism and the idea that, at creation, God formed the “germs” of all living beings, which from then on only have to be “unfolded.” In short, life —the term that becomes the conceptual center of the new science named biology —is “that which produces, grows, and reproduces,” as Michel Foucault has put it. 6
In this epistemic context, ideas of race and gender underwent far-reaching changes as both became situated in and defined by the early life sciences. On the one hand, the scientific interest in processes of reproduction went hand in hand with disputes about the role of the sexes in propagation and culture in general. On the other hand, inquiries into human variation were increasingly concerned with processes of race-mixing, crossbreeding, and hereditary transmission of parental traits. Although “critical attention to early race theory” has for a long time focused on debates concerning monogenism and polygenism, Stefani Engelstein suggests that “the paradigm shift in reproductive theory … from preformation to epigenesis” is at least “equally important for the constitution of modern race discourse.” 7 As scholars like Claudia Honegger and Londa Schiebinger have shown, it was just these “scientificalized” understandings of race and gender that played a prominent role in the period’s political and ethical debates on equality and inequality, freedom and nonfreedom. 8
The terms race and sex were in use long before the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. In the case of race , François Bernier is said to have been the first to use the term as a way of distinguishing global populations in his Nouvelle Division de la Terre, par les différentes Espèces ou Races d’hommes qui l’habitent (New Division of the Earth, According to the Different Species or Races of Men who Inhabit It), published in 1684. However, as the title already suggests, Bernier did not distinguish between races and species . Rather, he used both terms in a broad sense to designate certain groups of human populations. This was also the case for Linnaeus and Buffon, who, if they used the term at all, did so unsystematically. As is now widely known, it was Immanuel Kant who first gave a definition of race that was to powerfully impact not only contemporary debates but also those of the subsequent centuries. Kant, as Robert Bernasconi puts it, not only gave a definition, but “set a direction for further inquiries.” 9 Specifically, he did two things. First, he introduced the concept of race as a crucial term for his project of a genealogically oriented natural history, and thus as one that contributed to overcoming the classificatory, static forms of knowledge about nature, which Kant called Naturbeschreibung (natural description). In “the description of nature,

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