Call for contribution for a special issue of “Les carnets du Cerpac” (journal of Commonwealth studies at the University of Montpellier III, France). Proposals (a title, a summary and a small bio) should be sent to [email protected] or [email protected] before October 30 2005. After acceptance of the proposal, the article will be due for the end of February 2006. Publication: Autumn 2006.
Abstract: Sciences, the Empire and the Commonwealth
The Victorian period saw an explosion of new sciences and theories seeking to explain the origin and development of the human being. The theory of evolution was studied and debated along with what was to become known as social darwinism, eugenics, miscegenation, hybridization etc. Scientists set out to analyse differences between human beings and to codify what was then known as human “races”. People, some local like Joseph Carey Merrick, others exotic like Saartje Baartman, were exhibited for “scientific” purposes in circuses, zoos or during conferences. Expeditions were sent to far off lands to find the “missing link” and foremost among philosophical preoccupations of the time was the question of defining the norm. Some of these theories emerging at the time were to echo through the 20th century and lead, among other things, to Nazi racial theories and the racial justification of apartheid. Later, in Canada and Australia, theories on education were to encourage the separation of Aborigine and Indian children from their parents, producing what is now known as the “lost generation”. The aim of this special issue is to examine the genesis of such theories, the rhetoric brought into play to justify them, and ways in which people reacted to them. The geographical area for the present issue is Great Britain, the Empire and the Commonwealth. The perspective used may be historical or literary. Articles may be in English or in French.