Skulls of All Nations
3-4PM, Friday, 6/28, first floor of the Museum Library with guest curator Paul Wolff Mitchell, PhD Candidate in Anthropology
The curious 19th-century craze to define and rank racial and national differences with measures of the skull has its genesis in Philadelphia's Samuel George Morton and his infamous cranial collection. In the wake of Morton's Crania Americana (1839), a craniological genre coalesced to elaborate not only Morton's claims of human racial hierarchy and origins, but also Morton's lavish, obsessive presentation of the skull as a privileged scientific object for understanding human difference. A closer look at these publications reveals tremendous effort, artifice, and bias in the production of 19th-century cranial race science, blurring lines among science, art, and political propaganda.