Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education

Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education

Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education

Science for Segregation: Race, Law, and the Case against Brown v. Board of Education

Synopsis

It has long been acknowledged that the study of war and warfare demands careful consideration of technology, institutions, social organization, and more. But, for some, the so-called "war and society" approach increasingly included everything but explained nothing, because it all too often seemed to ignore the events on the battlefield itself.

The military historians in Warfare and Culture in World History return us to the battlefield, but they do so through a deep examination of the role of culture in shaping military institutions and military choices. Collected here are some of the most provocative recent efforts to analyze warfare through a cultural lens, drawing on and aggressively expanding traditional scholarship on war and society through sophisticated cultural analysis. With chapters ranging from an organizational analysis of American Civil War field armies to the soldiers' culture of late Republican Rome and debates within Ming Chinese officialdom over extermination versus pacification, this one volume provides a full range of case studies of how culture, whether societal, strategic, organizational, or military, could shape not only military institutions but also actual battlefield choices.

Excerpt

Founded in 1970, the Behavioral Genetics Association (BGA) is dedicated to the “scientific study of the interrelationship of genetic mechanisms and behavior, both human and animal.” Like many professional organizations, the BGA has the president of the association address the banquet at the annual meeting. In 1995 the president of the BGA was Florida State University psychologist Glayde Whitney, who had been on the editorial board of the association's journal, Behavior Genetics, for a number of years and had an established research program investigating taste preferences in mice. His address, “Twenty-five Years of Behavioral Genetics,” started in a typical fashion for such occasions, as Whitney recounted his training at the University of Minnesota and his arrival at Florida State University in 1970, where he established his “mouse lab” and began his lifelong research program. The address soon took a different turn, however, as Whitney began discussing the racial basis of crime. Such an investigation had been hampered, he declared, by the dogma that the environment determined all behavioral traits and by the taboo against scientific research into race. Whitney decried these trends, as he saw them: “The Marxist-Lysenkoist denial of genetics, the emphasis on environmental determinism for all things human… [represents an] invasion of left-liberal political sentiment [that] has been so extensive that many of us think that way without realizing it.” Whitney's invocation of Lysenkoism was a quick one-two punch for his audience of geneticists. First, it called up the discredited doctrine of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Often called “Lamarckism” after Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck, one of its eighteenth-century proponents, it claims that changes to the body caused by the environment could be passed down through the generations. Second, it recalled that when Trofim Lysenko, a Stalinist functionary, declared Lamarckism was demanded by Marxist ideology, geneticists who refused to toe this party line were purged. For many in the . . .

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