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James Hunt on the Quest for Awakening Robert Knox’S Ideas and Reterritorialization of His Racial Theories into the Mainstream Scientific Discourse in Mid-Victorian Britain.

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Document pages: 23 pages

Abstract: This paper aims to explore James Hunt s role in the rehabilitation of Dr Robert Knox s diminished reputation by a careful choice of Knox s original theories from his "The Races of Men " (1860) to establish an ideological underpinning for political agenda of Anthropological Society of London (1863-1871). Yet, at the same time, Hunt had become empowered with the reliable tool to oppose Thomas Huxley, and his fellow Darwinists efforts to homogenise mid-Victorian Anthropology under the banner of Darwinism. That said, Hunt had to pay the steep price for such accomplishment since he had to de-radicalise core elements of Knox s racialist vision. In doing so, Hunt s orchestrated resurrection of a modified version of Knox s writings helped him to smuggle a cunningly significant number of both Knox s original and recontextualised racialist elements into a discipline of Social Darwinism. Hence, the legacy of James Hunt should not be underestimated and dismissed as a marginal contribution to further development of racism in following two decades after his death. Additionally, the purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how James Hunt managed to disseminate and bring into the foreground the racial theories pioneered by Robert Knox. The central goal of this paper is to analyse the process of Hunt’s intentional manipulation with original ideas developed by Robert Knox to shape them for Hunt s political purposes and consequent popularisation of an expanded corpus of racialist theory. We shall begin with a brief introduction to Robert Knox, who indeed inspired James Hunt to popularise racist views in mid-Victorian society, though Hunt later modified Knoxian racial doctrine rather unfaithfully to the original theory. In this way, this work analyses Hunt’s transition from Knox’s admirer to a populariser of broader racist doctrine including not only Knox s views but elements of racial theories of Paul Broca, George Gliddon, Samuel Morton and Josiah Nott as well. In this context, the final part of the paper follows Hunt s shift from the populariser of virulent racist ideas to a wily political manipulator, who shaped his condensed racist beliefs and methods in accordance with tightening British colonial policy to pass down an ultimate racist underpinning for an emerging wave of a new ideology characterised by an uncompromising imperialism.

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