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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

(p.45) Chapter Two A Genealogy of Variation
Ghost Stories for Darwin
Banu Subramaniam
University of Illinois Press

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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