HSS 2000 Abstracts
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Seventeenth-century users of microscopes set their sights on the familiar and mundane world of very small objects-seeds, household items, bits of fabric, and especially insects. The images produced by these early microscopists present stunning views of flies, lice, termites, and other insects as they had never been seen or depicted these magnified views transform small and insignificant creatures into fascinating, strange, and wholly new beings-exotic animals. Images of insects such as those found in Hooke's Micrographia or Leeuwenhoek's studies are often cited by historians as examples of the careful and precise observation of nature characteristic of the advances in seventeenth-century science and technology. In this paper, however, I argue that such images were the product of reciprocal relationships between image-makers and observers who made use of older image-making practices that combined fantasy and imagination with precise observation. It was through the use of these two methods of visual representation-the rhetoric of the real and the rhetoric of fantasy-that early users of microscopes were able to make sense of the startling new visions they experienced. The results were images that present views of insects that are both familiar and exotic.
Since the 1960's it has been known that Robert Boyle's famous attack on the Paracelsian "tria prima" (mercury, sulfur, and salt) owed a significant debt to the Belgian iatrochemist Joan Baptista Van Helmont. In his Ortus medicinae of 1648, Van Helmont argues (as Boyle would later do) against the much-vaunted claim of the Paracelsians that analysis by fire provides a fool-proof demonstration of the tria prima's pre-existence in compounds. Van Helmont points out that the Paracelsian position contains an obvious fallacy - the assumption that the disintegration of a body always reveals pre-existent ingredients rather than mere artifacts of decomposition. On the strength of this paralogism, the human body should be composed of worms, and cheese of mites. It has not been realized widely that Van Helmont himself was the beneficiary of a long and increasingly bitter scholastic debate about the pre-existence of substances in mixts. Thomas Erastus made the subject a cause celebre in the appendix to his Disputationes de nova Philippi Paracelsi medicina of 1572, and the topic was incorporated into Daniel Sennert's discussions of atomism, beginning in 1619. In my talk, I will focus mainly on the highly polemical Erastus, while also pointing out the ramifications of his argument for the history of atomism and the Aristotelian distinction between artificial and natural substances.
This paper explores the complex connections between Victorian research into evanescent physical phenomena, technology, and spiritualism. The radiometer, the electrical discharge tube, and the sensitive flame were among the most spectacular instruments of the Victorian physics laboratory. For many late-nineteenth and twentieth-century scientific commentators, these instruments also mediated phenomena that were of major importance in the 'discovery' of the electron and in the understanding of gases and radiation. This paper contends that these latter interpretations obscure some of the more striking uses to which such instruments were originally put. It focuses on the work of William Crookes, the analytical chemist who invented the radiometer, William Fletcher Barrett, a physicist and leading exhibitor of the sensitive flame apparatus, and Cromwell Varley, a telegraphic engineer whose experiments on electrical discharge were judged to have furnished decisive evidence for the corpuscular nature of cathode rays. Crookes, Varley and Barrett were also among the most eminent psychical researchers of the nineteenth century, and this paper argues that their strategies for producing evidence for spiritualistic phenomena were informed by and informed the development of the instruments for which they were celebrated. Although these strategies failed to produce conclusive evidence for spiritualistic phenomena, Crookes, Varley and Barrett successfully exploited their command of the transient phenomena displayed in their instruments to claim authority over a much wider range of transient phenomena and to defend their scientific reputation. The paper concludes by considering the implications of these historical episodes for the historiography of Victorian physics and psychical research.
In 1571, a female alchemist named Anna Maria Zieglerin arrived at the court of Duke Julius of Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel in the Holy Roman Empire. Zieglerin herself held no official position at court and was simply accompanying her husband, Heinrich Schombach, who had come to assist an alchemist Duke Julius had recently hired. Nonetheless, Zieglerin quickly found ample opportunity to pursue her own alchemical interests at Julius's court. She had her own laboratory in which she carried out alchemical processes, and tried to interest the Duke in her work by presenting him with a booklet on the preparation of the Philosopher's Stone in 1573. The centerpiece of Zieglerin's career in Wolfenbüttel, however, was her claim to have a special relationship with a mysterious adept in the alchemical arts, Count Carl von Oettingen. This count, Zieglerin contended, was not only Paracelsus's illegitimate son and thus had unique access to alchemy's secrets he also had shared his knowledge with her over the course of a long amorous relationship in which he came to see Zieglerin as his partner in an alchemical project of great import. As I shall argue in this paper, Zieglerin's account of her relationship with the fictional Count Carl served a twofold purpose. First, she used the story quite successfully to attract attention and establish herself as a legitimate alchemist whose knowledge and expertise surpassed even that of her male colleagues at court. Second, the story played an equally important role in Zieglerin's understanding of her personal life. By making herself out to be the fictional Count's partner in nothing less than the alchemical regeneration of the world, she gave shape and meaning to her own life story as well. Ultimately, Zieglerin stands at the conjunction of science and self in early modern Europe, suggesting that legitimating the two were often part of the very same process.
Formerly fact-poor, botany became a fact-rich discipline in the sixteenth century. As an unintended consequence of new attitudes and techniques in botany, the number of plants described in botanical books grew an order of magnitude between 1530 and 1630, creating new problems of organization and classification. To humanistically oriented naturalists, this phenomenon was as much a problem of words as of things: for every new plant at least one new name was coined, often more, and these new names appeared in a burgeoning variety of new books. Indeed, it soon became difficult to tell whether a new name corresponded to a new plant or whether it was simply a synonym for something already known, and naturalists had to master an increasingly large bibliography before they could themselves decide whether they had discovered something new. The solutions that were developed for this problem of information overload were effective, but they helped transform botany from an amalgam of humanism and medicine to an autonomous discipline which no longer attracted much interest from the broader culture.
The hypothetico-deductive models of science leads many scientists to believe that prediction is inherent in the scientific method. Yet historically, prediction has until recently played little role in the earth sciences On the contrary, for the better part of two centuries, most earth scientists eschewed both logical and temporal prediction, viewing it as beyond the scope of their science. However, in the last two decades, the rise of computer-generated numerical simulation models has led to an radical change in thinking, and temporal predictions are becoming increasingly common as output from such models. Indeed, earth scientists now routinely attempt to predict the future. But these attempts generally meet with failure, or at best only very partial success. Why are earth scientists making predictions, if they are not generally successful? Why have they embraced temporal prediction as a goal, when previously they rejected it? This paper will examine the historical and social context of the rise of prediction in the earth sciences in the late twentieth century.
This paper will address in greater detail the processes by which African mothers, Women Medical Officers, African health workers and the colonial administration constructed health care for women and children from 1919-1934. First, I will outline the initial concern with infant mortality and its relationship to African health practices and colonial labor needs. Second, I will consider the role of European women medical officers in advocating infant health. Third, I will discuss the development of the maternity hospital at Korle Bu and midwifery education. Through all of this, I will identify how the multiple constructions of women's labor served to place the onus of the colony's prosperity on African mothers and underpaid medical officers. And Finally, I would like to locate midwife training in the context of debates over the training of other medical professions. Why were colonial officials reluctant to train men as physicians or medical officers, yet willing to train women to be midwives?
"Zanstras method," a simple but powerful method of measuring the temperature of a hot photoionizing star in a gaseous nebula, was worked out in the early days of quantum mechanics by Herman Zanstra, a young Dutch theorist with a Minnesota PhD. The central ideas behind it were suggested to him by Walter Baade, the outstanding observational astrophysicist then at Hamburg-Bergedorf Observatory in Germany. Zanstra first gave an oral paper on his method at an American Physical Society meeting at Stanford University in 1926, just before Donald H. Menzel arrived at nearby Lick Observatory to take up a research position. Menzel had been Henry Norris Russells star graduate student at Princeton, where he earned his PhD in 1924. Menzel publised an excellent, short, critical review of nebular astrophysics soon after he arrived at Mount Hamilton. Zanstra published the full theoretical treatment of his method in 1927, and in 1928 published results he obtained with it using the 72-in reflector of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Victoria, B.C. In this period he was at Caltech and then at the University of Washington. However, beginning in 1931, Menzel frequently claimed that he and Zanstra had invented the method independently and nearly simultaneously, and that it should therefore be called the "Menzel-Zanstra" method. This was not correct; the paper he cited for his claim was his 1926 review, which did not give a physical basis for the method, and in fact further concluded that it did not work. His review had therefore stated that fast particles rather thanionizing photons were probably the mechanism at work in the nebulae. Several possible reasons for Menzels incorrect will be discussed.
Those who have control of the youth of a generation stand to have their ideas diffused broadly as that generation moves through adulthood. Descartes freely admits the goal of promoting his new philosophy for the purpose of educating the elite of coming generations. He famously solicited the Sorbonne for approval of his approach in the preface to the Meditations, and he went on to write a textbook suitable for educating the youth at university. Those strategies did not work: the Sorbonne initially ignored him, and the Jesuits, responsible for lower education, swiftly attacked him on theological grounds. So on what roots could Cartesianism have grown in France during the second half of the 17th century? Though it should be unsurprising that Descartes' success connects intimately with that of Nicholas Malebranche of the Oratoire Francaise, no adequate account of the general popularity of Descartes' system has yet been offered. The Oratoire de France, an activist Catholic order begun in Paris in 1611, was granted the right to set up schools, beginning in the 1620's. Whereas Jesuit schools continued to stress metaphysics, the Oratoriens also distinguished themselves by turning their new curriculum further toward mathematics and natural philosophy, which were subjects especially consonant with Cartesian philosophy. Thus, I suggest, Descartes used the Oratoire to forward scholarship and to promote an educational program that was rejected by the Jesuits. The Oratoire, in their turn, used Descartes and Cartesianism to fortify their scholarship and distinguish their new schools from those of the Jesuits.
The striking parallels between Carl Sagan and Harlow Shapley are explored in this comparative account of the public careers of these two prominent twentieth-century astronomers and science popularizers. The fact that studies of the origin, nature and fate of the universe are for most people connected to fundamental questions of spiritual and philosophical significance has assured the continuing mass appeal of astronomical and cosmological inquiry. Two of the most widely read popularizers of the early part of century, Eddington and Jeans, incorporated spiritual and philosophical perspectives in their popular accounts of the universe. In the late twentieth century, the merging of astronomical and evolutionary perspectives has made the cosmic landscape that much more compelling as an arena for scientists and laymen alike. Perhaps the most well-known proponent of evolution on a cosmic level was Carl Sagan, the planetary scientist and astronomer who gained worldwide fame in the 1980s with his popularization efforts, including his most well-known opus, the television series Cosmos. With humanity's place and ultimate fate at issue, the cosmos has become a forum for exploring questions of enduring significance, a nexus for public conversation on the issue of the relationship of science and religion as well as the question of the relevance of science for contemporary society. In the process, scientists like Sagan have helped to shape the role of the astronomer as prophet of science. As an astronomer with strong biological inclinations, one who popularized the issue of the life in the universe, characterized humans as "star stuff," presented science as a kind of revealed religion, sought cooperation with the Soviet Union as a means to preserve civilization, and presented his message to viewers of the popular television program The Tonight Show, Shapley's story serves as an intriguing prelude and comparative case for the subsequent activities of Sagan.
The publication of "Die Lehre von den Tonempfindungen" (On the Sensations of Tone) by Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894) in 1863 inspired the growth of experimental acoustics across Europe and North America, resulting in a proliferation of novel instruments for studying sound. The Klang (Sound) Analyzer, made by Rudolf Koenig (1832-1901), demonstrated one of Helmholtz^³s finest achievements, the theory of sound quality, or Klangfarbe. Koenig, who had played a major role in developing the Helmholtz resonator into an instrument of "precision and certainty," first introduced the Analyser in 1865. It was part of a family of instruments deriving from a new optical method invented by Koenig in 1862, the manometric flame technique. In this talk, I describe how the analyser developed, what it was used for, early praises and critiques of its performance, a later adaptation by Max Kohl, and how it actually worked in the classroom and laboratory. Such a common, yet complex instrument provides a rich perspective on the practice of acoustics in the nineteenth century. Much of this research stems from the examination and operation of Koenig's instruments at the University of Toronto and the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C. In particular, I focus on the Sound Analyser, now at Toronto, that Koenig demonstrated at the 1876 exhibition of Philadelphia.
In a speech delivered in January, 1999, Surgeon General David Satcher indicated that while generals and admirals in the military rely on ships or aircraft or troops as their source of power, the Surgeon General of the Public Health Service (PHS) "relies on science- the best available science - to manage and advance the nation's health." It has not always been easy, however, to establish public health policies on the basis of scientific knowledge alone, without the intervention of social, political, and economic considerations. This paper attempts to illuminate this point by examining the difficulties encountered by the PHS and Surgeon General Thomas Parran in balancing medical and moral concerns in the Service's VD education campaign during the Second World War. In a scenario that resembles in many ways the reaction to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s, Parran and the PHS were criticized in some quarters for being too explicit about sexual matters and for promoting prophylactic measures in the educational materials produced and distributed by the Service. While Parran was sensitive to moral and religious concerns, he believed that health agencies were responsible for dealing with venereal diseases as dangerous contagions and not for the teaching of sexual morality. He noted that with the aid of available scientific methods it should be possible to eliminate venereal disease in his generation's lifetime, a timetable that "may be well in advance of any major changes in the sex habits of the population as a whole." Science, however, sometimes had to bow to social and political pressures, as for example when the PHS withdrew as the national distributor of one venereal disease education film in the face of opposition from the Catholic Legion of Decency.
This essay examines the characteristics of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology as an intramural program of the National Institutes of Health during the first two decades of its operation (1961-1981). My main focus is on the structure and function of this laboratory in the particular institutional setting provided by the federal government, which emerged as a leading patron for biomedical research after World War II. NIH intramural programs in Bethesda had a clearly defined mission-"better health through research"-in common, but a broad interpretation of relevance to categorical diseases allowed various kinds of research activities in many scientific and medical disciplines. In this complex environment of a government agency, researchers inevitably encountered statutory and administrative restraints on the one hand, and pressures for more responsive programs on the other. Yet the disadvantages could be offset by "three freedoms" uniquely available on the NIH campus: freedom to choose research topics without being restricted to the subject of the grant proposal freedom to devote almost all working hours to research and freedom from the need to develop "grantsmanship" skills. These freedoms, the essay shows, ensured the autonomy of individual researchers in the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, and fostered a scientific community that encouraged a generous exchange of ideas, a facile initiation of collaboration, and a flexible planning of research. The quality of their research products, in return, helped to convince NIH administrators and outside reviewers of the value of three freedoms in fulfilling the mission.
In the early 1780s a new wheat pest appeared in New York and New Jersey. Soon named the "Hessian fly" by Revolutionary War veteran and American Philosophical Society member George Morgan, it engaged the attention of American leaders interested in maintaining agricultural prosperity, building science, and promoting what Morgan called "a useful National Prejudice" against the forces that had been brought to America by George III. The insect became a source of real tension between the United States and Great Britain in 1788, when the Privy Council, on the advice of Royal Society president Joseph Banks, used it to justify a ban on the importation of American wheat. Debates over the origin, range, and behavior of the Hessian fly illuminate science-based understandings of human-mediated biological invasions, as well as the bases for prudential official judgments about invasion risks, prevalent in the late 18th century. The episode also provides a concrete example of the practical problems involved in insect species identification immediately after Linnaeus. Finally, the sudden end to diplomatic concern over the Hessian fly in late 1789 demonstrates the nesting of disputes about biological invasions within the wider framework of "political ecology." Famine and the French Revolution induced British leaders to reassess the risks and benefits of cheap American wheat; the immediate danger posed by the potentially riotous human population of England was more compelling to them than the imagined consequences of an invasion by the Hessian fly.
In the first half of the 19th century, Germany's civic voluntary associations formed the organizational bedrock of both political liberalism and middle class public life. Over the same period, voluntary associations also became central to the pursuit of natural science. By 1850, every German town of any size or importance had its own local natural scientific society these associations provided an important intellectual forum for both eminent scholars and obscure local notables. Local societies joined together everyone who laid claim to the title 'natural scientist' in this period. This group included university professors, but also scientifically minded state bureaucrats, doctors, ministers and businessmen. Like other kinds of voluntary associations, scientific societies presented a potential challenge to state authority. In claiming the right to speak for the general good, they moved into a position that had previously been occupied by the state alone. Governed by constitutions and ruled by elected officers, these societies presented in microcosm the principles that early 19th century liberals hoped to realize in the polity as a whole. This paper will examine the role of scientific associations in the liberal revolutions of 1830 and 1848, analyzing the place of civic natural scientific activity in relation to other projects that aimed to reconfigure political authority in this period.
The rapid growth of psychology after World War II brought unanticipated benefits and problems to organized psychology. The benefits included a sharp increase in membership in the leading psychological organization, the American Psychological Association (APA), and a concomitant rise in the knowledge base of psychology. Changes in American society contributed to the growth of the practice of psychology through an increased demand for psychotherapy and other mental health services. The increased salience of psychology in the public eye was not an unmixed blessing to professional psychologists. The problematic relationship of psychology and the public is examined through the lens of the series on psychology that ran in Life magazine during the middle years of the 1950s. At the time of their publication, it was estimated that the Life series increased public awareness of psychological concepts more than any other publication ever had. The articles in the series are examined in the light of archival correspondence between the series editor for Life, Ernest Haveman, and Michael Amrine, public information officer for the American Psychological Association. This episode is discussed in terms of how the psychological imagination of the American public was shaped in the middle years of the twentieth century.
The traditional Evolutionary Synthesis narrative, as told by zoologist/historian Ernst Mayr, characterizes a transformation in twentieth century biology from diverse efforts performed by fragmented subdisciplines to a unified effort that was led by "architects" of the Synthesis. The designated botanist of the Synthesis, G. Ledyard Stebbins, agreed with Mayr that Botany was "delayed in entering the Synthesis" in comparison to zoology and paleontology. However, when one looks at the kind of work being done in botany during the 1930s and 1940s, it becomes clear why many botanists did not accept major tenets of the Synthesis narrative - even as revised by Stebbins. Botanists had to decide whether to keep their more pluralistic understanding of species and speciation, or sacrifice some of their concepts to join the newly forming field of evolutionary biology. Much of the history of this period reflects botany as it was contextualized by Mayr, Stebbins and others, thus missing the "voice" and culture of botanical activity that did not fit into the dominant Synthesis stories. In order to analyze the impact of Mayr's and Stebbins' narratives, I examine three prominent botanists who did not readily join in what many see as one of the greatest intellectual achievements of the twentieth century: Jens Clausen, David Keck, and William Hiesey. Although much of their perspective is lost in the Evolutionary Synthesis narrative, Clausen, Keck, and Hiesey laid much of the foundation for plant researchers in the latter half of this century.
In the 1930s, courses called "Mental Hygiene," "Human Adjustment," or "The Psychology of Personality" courses were taught at virtually all colleges where they became the very first course in psychology any student would take. These courses focused on aiding students in maintaining and enhancing their own mental health. A whole textbook market was geared to provide appropriate readings for them. Authors of such books expressed the view that, following the ideals of a liberal arts education, colleges did not only need to impart knowledge but also needed to form the characters and personalities of the students in their charge. Since psychology was the science of human nature, these psychologists thought that they were the most suitable teachers of these courses. In this paper I contend that these courses in psychology both presented the latest results of psychological investigation and culturally, ethnically, and class-specific views of how individuals should lead their lives and how they should resolve problems they encountered. In the 1920s and 1930s, these courses emphasized the importance of habit training and regularity. In the post-World-War II years, their focus changed to an interest in emotional dynamics. In the 1950s, a third type of textbook appeared, presenting an overview of results of psychological research relevant to mental health, leaving it to the student to apply these to practical situations. In the 1950s, when the discipline of psychology grew exponentially, the opposition among psychologists against these courses grew. Many scientifically-oriented psychologists claimed that science, rather than emotional guidance, should be the focus of undergraduate courses in psychology. As a consequence of a reorientation of the discipline towards furthering the science of psychology, human adjustment courses disappeared. In this paper, I will analyze these human adjustment courses in the way they present psychology to an undergraduate audience, what elements from psychology they emphasize, and I will provide a background of the authors of these books. These courses are important for several reasons. First, psychologists teaching human adjustment courses were concerned with formulating modern standards of behavior and in this way often reified cultural norms and expectation. In other words, these courses naturalized specific cultural norms and expectations as the outcome of psychological research. Second, these courses were a very influential vehicle for the popularization of psychology. As a consequence, the demand for clinical services might increase. However, the cultural influence of these courses has been much more pervasive, since they succeeded in familiarizing several generations with basic psychological insights.
In the realm of practical mechanics in the 15th and 16th centuries, different kinds of engineer drawings rather than theoretical texts were widely used to consider mechanical phenomena. Well-known figures of pre-classical mechanics from Tartaglia to Galileo were familiar with this medium of relection. At the same time, the engineer drawings of this age give evidence of rules of thumb employed by practitioners which reveal, at least partly, their understanding of the relationship of force, time and space. This paper presents an overview of both these aspects of the emergence of classical mechanics.
Social science is generally represented as very young, yet the disciplinary histories often go back to Aristotle. Perhaps because history remains more important for social science than for most of the natural sciences, its goals and styles continue to be set by practitioners. Here I ask how the social sciences should be understood by history, and how it would alter our writing about their history. One crucial point is that the modern disciplines had a very tenuous existence in social science before about 1890. This pertains to the organization of knowledge, and the practices by which it was generated, as well as to the social structure of disciplines. Here I set out to define some topics and problems that subvert or cut across disciplinary divides, and that point to shared aspects of their cultural and intellectual identities. One of these is the use of quantification, which has been a lively topic within history of science in recent decades. Another is the practices and discourses of laboratories and interventions. I would gather both of these issues under a large rubric, the rival forms of experience in nineteenth-century social science. Should experience be direct or vicarious, broadly interpretive or reduced to forms and tables, gathered up individualistically or bureaucratically, ethnographic or statistical? What social backgrounds and educations provided preparation and standing to study social science in these various ways? A second large issue is the relation of social to natural science. It would be a mistake to suppose that this was entirely or even mainly a relationship of one-way dependence, though it was common already in the late eighteenth century to represent it this way. The choice of natural-scientific models was of course an important one: botany, morphology, and mathematical physics had very different implications for social understanding. To this we should add that in no case were the implications self-evident. One of the main tasks of philosophy of science throughout this period was to clarify that relationship. Finally, I will emphasize that social science represented not only an ideal of knowledge, but also of management and reform. That has remained true into the more contemporary period, but is unmistakable for the earlier one. Again, this points us not to a monolithic explanation, but to a set of alternatives. Among the most important was the choice between social science as a contributor to a broader public discussion--social science in the public sphere--and a more recondite social science aimed mainly at expert bureaucracies. The politics, moreover, was very much contested, in relation to class, gender, political affiliations, and geographic situations.
Julian Huxley declared that the Modern Synthesis was Darwinism "risen from the ashes of the pyre like a mutated phoenix" thanks to those following the "true-blue Darwinian stream." Huxley and other Modern Synthesis writers were actively constructing an ontological essence for Darwinism. This rhetorical move succeeded in privileging a set of rules that largely excluded many of the instrumental and methodological traditions in which evolutionists of the time were invested, even though they were all working within the same basic paradigm. But the Modern Synthesis program was not the only possible incarnation of the mythical synthesis animal. Due to the dislocations of the war, and institutional structure of their science departments, German paleontologists, most notably Otto Heinrich Schindewolf, constructed an alternative synthesis, derived in part from Goldschmidt's field studies and lab genetics. This was much more synthetic and holistic than the Anglo-American Modern Synthesis, significantly incorporating data and approaches from genetics, embryology, cytogenetics, botany, ecology, paleontology, sedimentology, and other fields. Although it did not claim the mantle, it was in many ways more in the spirit of Darwin than the neo-darwinians were. Schindewolf's student, Adolf Seilacher, was driven to the study of evolution in part by experiencing radical contingency first-hand as a German soldier in WWII. The grand narrative constituting his theory of history was shattered. In a move reminiscent of the annales school, Seilacher investigated the quotidian existence of worms, slugs, and other critters in the economy of nature via the fossilized evidence of their tracks, trails, burrows, and death scenes to produce a narrative of contingency, physical and developmental constraint, and spectacular adaptation to local environments. In the 60s and 70s, young American paleontologists (Raup, Eldredge, Gould, Stanley, inter alia) drew on this German synthesis when they challenged the explanatory adequacy of the "hardened" Modern Synthesis and the hegemony of population genetics, to reassert macroevolution as a source of theory.
New fossil finds have revolutionized the understanding of fossil hominid phyletic diveristy in recent decades. Today, there is fairly wide acceptance of the "bushiness" of the human ancestral tree--circa 10-20 different hominid species in 3 separate genera over the past million years--though that "consensus" was not established without a struggle. Recognition of fossil hominid diversity was hampered by post-WWII conceptions of racial diversity, especially the New Synthesis celebration of (intra-species) genetic variability, but also the related liberal anti-racialist consensus that culminated in the UNESCO Statement on Race. I will explore the impact of post-Auschwitz racialist ideologies on conceptions of hominid diversity, focussing especially on the so-called "single hominid hypothesis"--the idea put forward by Dobzhansky, Mayr, Simpson, Brace, and others that only one hominid species could ever exist at any given time in paleontologic history. The idea was partly that genetic diversity was sufficient to embrace any and all hominids as "human," there was also the idea that the human cultural "niche" was too tight to allow more than one occupying species. Morphologists contributed to the myopia, with the idea that there simply wasn't enough "morphologic space" between A. africanus and H. erectus to shoehorn in another species. I plan to trace the rise and fall of the single hominid hypothesis from the period 1920-1950, when taxonomic diversity implied racial differentiation, to the period 1950-1970, when hominid diversity was shunned in the wake of the UNESCO Statement, to the period 1970-1990, when diversity again came back into fashion, albeit now without the racialist overtones that had colored much of earlier morphologic thought. I will also say something about the impact of these transformations on the thesis of human recency--the idea that pre-sapiens hominids were not "human" in some deep and interesting sense. Some comments will also be made about the stability of the Acheulean and its relevance to the thesis of human recency.
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