From racism to genocide : anthropology in the Third Reich /

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Main Author: Schafft, Gretchen Engle
Format: Book
Published:Urbana : University of Illinois Press, 2007
Edition:First Illinois pbk. [ed.]
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Review by Choice Review

Schafft's morally indignant book traces her archival discoveries, providing testimony to the complicity of German and Austrian anthropologists in Hitler's project of racial classification and, ultimately, genocide. For scholars, a major point of interest is her use of records of the Institute for German Work in the East (IDO), which are now lodged at the Smithsonian. Schafft (American Univ.) also places the Nazi project in context, including brief accounts of German anthropology's prior development, the eugenics movement in Europe, and, in chapter eight's intriguing excursus, echoes of racist scientism in US discussions of postwar resettlement of displaced Europeans. In Schafft's stark judgment, Nazi anthropologists abandoned self-evident principles of humanity for careerism and pseudoscience. More provocatively, she accuses postwar anthropologists of moral failure amounting to complicity in failing to bring this dark period in the profession's history to light. The cause certainly deserves discussion, as do issues of the sociology of knowledge that a nuanced, archivally grounded analysis of relationships, personalities, and beliefs could raise. The book, however, is weakened by poor organization, a chronology that jumps around, the intrusion of sections of grand historical narrative on the core theme, and an overreliance on outrage. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Faculty. K. Brown Brown University

Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.

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