Download Reading and Discussion Questions for Trigger, ‘Racist Evolution’

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Reading and Discussion Questions for Trigger, ‘Racist Evolution’
1. What were the major social changes that occurred first in Britain and then in
northern Europe in general in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries?
2. Which group of people assumed political, managerial and intellectual
leadership as a result of these changes?
3. Why was evolutionary thought somewhat disreputable to the middle classes in
the early nineteenth century?
4. What political events, by mid-century, made it more acceptable?
5. What was Darwin’s theory as applied to biological evolution?
6. What was its impact on the intellectual elite of England, Europe and Euro
North America?
7. Who was Herbert Spencer and what were some of his ideas?
8. What was monogenesis? Polygenesis?
9. How was the idea of natural selection applied to societies?
10. What were some of Lubbock’s major ideas about evolution?
11. What were Lubbock’s views about women, the working classes and the
‘criminally inclined?’
12. Why has Lubbock been denounced as a racist?
13. Why and how does Trigger see evolutionary theory as defending privilege?
14. How did nineteenth century evolutionary thought repudiate enlightenment
ideas of the psychic unity of humankind?
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