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Ghost Stories for DarwinThe Science of Variation and the Politics of Diversity$
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Banu Subramaniam

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038655

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038655.001.0001

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A Genealogy of Variation

A Genealogy of Variation

The Enduring Debate on Human Differences

Chapter:
(p.45) Chapter Two A Genealogy of Variation
Source:
Ghost Stories for Darwin
Author(s):
Banu Subramaniam
Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252038655.003.0003

This chapter traces the genealogy of variation, as shaped by Charles Darwin and his legacy of evolution by natural selection. It argues that tracing the history of variation through a naturecultural framework reveals the inherent underlying logic of eugenics. A naturecultural framework allows us to see that evolutionary biologists have long wrestled with some version of what we recognize as the nature/nurture debates. Furthermore, in chronicling this history, the chapter deals with the major figures, including the four patriarchs, or fathers, of the field: Darwin, the father of evolution; Galton, the father of biometry; Malthus, the father of demography; and Mendel, the father of genetics.

Keywords:   Charles Darwin, variation, eugenics, naturecultural framework, Michel Foucault, nature–nurture, Francis Galton, Thomas Malthus, Gregor Mendel

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