Caucasian race

Caucasian race

The Caucasian race, sometimes the Caucasoid race, is a term of racial classification, coined around 1800 by Johann Friedrich Blumenbach for the "white" race of mankind, which he derived from the region of the Caucasus. [Oxford English Dictionary: "a name given by Blumenbach (a1800) to the ‘white’ race of mankind, which he derived from the region of the Caucasus."] It was thus in use as denoting populations of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and parts of Central and South Asia, or more narrowly people of European origin. [The Oxford English Dictionary defines " [ Caucasoid] " as as noun or adjective meaning "Of, pertaining to, or resembling the Caucasian race." It glosses "Caucasian" as "relating to a broad division of humankind covering peoples from Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Central Asia, and South Asia" or "white-skinned; of European origin". ] The concept's existence is based on the now obsolete typological method of racial classification. [O'Neil, Dennis. " [ Biological Anthropology Terms.] " 2006. May 13, 2007. Palomar College.] [ [ Does Race Exist?] A proponent's perspective by George W. Gill.]

Origins of the term

The term "Caucasian" originated as one of the racial categories recognized by 19th century craniology and is derived from the region of the Caucasus mountainsUniversity of Pennsylvania [ Blumenbach] ] .The concept of a "Caucasian race" or "Varietas Caucasia" was first proposed under those names by the German scientist and classical anthropologist, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840). His studies based the classification of the Caucasian race primarily on skull features, which Blumenbach claimed were optimized by the Caucasian Peoples. [ Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, The anthropological treatises of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach] ,translated by Thomas Bendyshe. 1865. November 2, 2006.] Blumenbach writes:

"Caucasian variety - I have taken the name of this variety from Mount Caucasus, both because its neighborhood, and especially its southern slope, produces the most beautiful race of men, I mean the Georgian; and because all physiological reasons converge to this, that in that region, if anywhere, it seems we ought with the greatest probability to place the autochthones (birth place) of mankind". [Blumenbach , "De generis humani varietate nativa" (3rd ed. 1795), trans. Bendyshe (1865). Quoted e.g. in Arthur Keith, "Blumenbach's Centenary", "Man", Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland (1940).]
The Caucasus was historically an area of fascination for Europeans;dubious Prometheus and Jason and the Argonauts were myths featured in the Caucasus. [ Caucasus, Historical Notes] ] Greek mythology considered women from the Caucasus to have magical powers. [Painter, p. page number] In Greek mythology, this area was thought of as a kind of hell since Zeus imprisoned many Titans who opposed him (e.g. Prometheus) there.

Physical anthropology

"Caucasoid race" is a term used in physical anthropology to refer to people of a certain range of anthropometric measurements [Reinhard, K.J., & Hastings, D. (Annual 2003) Learning from the ancestors: the value of skeletal study.(study of ancestors of Omaha Tribe of Nebraska). In American Journal of Physical Anthropology, p177(1).] .

19th century classifications of the peoples of India considered the Dravidians of non-Caucasoid stock, as "Australoid" (Thomas Huxley 1865) or a separate "Dravida" race (Edgar Thurston) and assumed a gradient of miscegenation of high-caste Caucasoid "Aryans" and indigenous Dravidians. Carleton S. Coon in his 1939 "The Races of Europe" classifies the Dravidians as Caucasoid as well, due to their "Caucasiod skull structure" and other physical traits (e.g. noses, eyes, hair), in his 1969 "The Living Races of Man" stating that "India is the easternmost outpost of the Caucasian racial region".

With the turn away from racial theory in the late 20th century, the term "Caucasian" as a racial classification fell into disuse in Europe. Thus, in the United Kingdom, "Caucasian" is more likely than in the United States to describe people from the Caucasus, although it may still be used as a racial classification. [Katsiavriades, Kryss. Qureshi, Talaat. [ English Usage in the UK and USA. 1997.] October 26, 2006.; see also Pearsell, Judy and Trumble, Bill (Eds) Oxford English Reference Dictionary. 2002.]

Sarah A Tishkoff and Kenneth K Kidd state, "Despite disagreement among anthropologists, this classification remains in use by many researchers, as well as lay people." [cite journal |author=Tishkoff SA, Kidd KK |title=Implications of biogeography of human populations for 'race' and medicine |journal=Nat. Genet. |volume=36 |issue=11 Suppl |pages=S21–7 |year=2004 |month=Nov |pmid=15507999 |doi=10.1038/ng1438 |url=] According to Leonard Lieberman, Rodney C. Kirk, and Alice Littlefield, the concept of race has all but been completely rejected by modern mainstream anthropology. [Leonard Lieberman, Rodney C. Kirk, and Alice Littlefield, "Perishing Paradigm: Race—1931-99," "American Anthropologist" 105, no. 1 (2003): 110-13]

The United States National Library of Medicine used the term Caucasian as a race in the past, but has discontinued its usage in favor of the term "European". [cite journal |author= |title=Other Notable MeSH Changes and Related Impact on Searching: Ethnic Groups and Geographic Origins |journal=NLM Technical Bulletin |volume=335 |issue=Nov-Dec |pages= |year=2003 |url= |quote=The MeSH term Racial Stocks and its four children (Australoid Race, Caucasoid Race, Mongoloid Race, and Negroid Race) have been deleted from MeSH in 2004. A new heading, Continental Population Groups, has been created with new indentions that emphasize geography.]

United States

In the United States, "Caucasian" has been mainly a distinction, based on skin color, for a group commonly called "White Americans", as defined by the government and Census Bureau. [Painter, p. page number]

Between 1917 and 1965, immigration to the USA was restricted by "national origins quota".The Supreme Court in "United States v. Bhagat Singh Thind" (1923) decided Indians were not Caucasian, because most common people did not consider them to be Caucasian.



*cite news |last=Leroi |first=Armand Marie |date=2005-03-14 |title=A Family Tree in Every Gene |publisher=The New York Times |page=A23 |url=
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* Johann Friedrich Blumenbach, "On the Natural Varieties of Mankind" (1775) — the book that introduced the concept
*cite book |author=Gould, Stephen Jay |title=The mismeasure of man |publisher=Norton |location=New York |year=1981 |pages= |isbn=0-393-01489-4 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate= — a history of the pseudoscience of race, skull measurements, and IQ inheritability
*cite book |author=Piazza, Alberto; Cavalli-Sforza, L. L.; Menozzi, Paolo |title=The history and geography of human genes |publisher=Princeton University Press |location=Princeton, N.J |year=1996 |pages= |isbn=0-691-02905-9 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate= — a major reference of modern population genetics
*cite book |author=Cavalli-Sforza, LL |title=Genes, peoples and languages |publisher=Allen Lane |location=London |year=2000 |pages= |isbn=0-7139-9486-X |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=
*cite book |author=Augstein, HF |chapter=From the Land of the Bible to the Caucasus and Beyond |editor=Harris, Bernard; Ernst, Waltraud |title=Race, science and medicine, 1700–1960 |publisher=Routledge |location=New York |year=1999 |pages=58–79 |isbn=0-415-18152-6 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=
*cite book |author=Baum, Bruce |title=The rise and fall of the Caucasian race: a political history of racial identity |publisher=New York University Press |location=New York |year=2006 |pages= |isbn=0-8147-9892-6 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=
*cite book |author=Guthrie, Paul |title=The Making of the Whiteman: From the Original Man to the Whiteman |publisher=Research Associates School Times |location=Chicago, IL |year=1999 |pages= |isbn=0-948390-49-2 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=
*cite book |author=Wolf, Eric R.; Cole, John N. |title=The Hidden Frontier: Ecology and Ethnicity in an Alpine Valley |publisher=University of California Press |location=Berkeley |year=1999 |pages= |isbn=0-520-21681-4 |oclc= |doi= |accessdate=

ee also

* Scientific racism
* Craniofacial anthropometry
* Race and genetics
* Race (U.S. Census)
* Race (historical definitions)
* Caucasian peoples
* White people
* European people
* White American
* European American

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  • Caucasian — 1807, from CAUCASUS (Cf. Caucasus) Mountains, between the Black and Caspian seas; applied to the white race 1795 (in German) by Ger. anthropologist Johann Blumenbach, because its supposed ancestral homeland lay there; since abandoned as a… …   Etymology dictionary

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