Anthropological Association of Ireland


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National Races: Anthropology, classification and politics in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

Seminar Room, Tyrconnell, Perrott Ave., Off College Road, University College Cork

Mon. 28-Tues. 29 July 2014


You are invited to attend a conference about the lost science of race classification. From about 1830 on, for over a century, the classification of biological human races was a respectable scientific project. The conference participants, who are leading historians of race science from throughout Europe, will nevertheless stress that this project was also highly politicised. It played a vital role in shaping the national identities that were developing at the time. In Ireland for example, scientific debates about dark, curly-haired ‘Black Kelts’ were used to link the Irish racially with the Mediterranean or even with Africa. Race scientists provided legitimacy to new nationalist accounts, in which nations were biological and cultural descendants of ancient tribes such as the Celts and Teutons. Scientists therefore defined races by factors like language, religion and psychological interpretations of national character, as well as biological traits such as hair colour, stature, blood type and (especially) skull shape.


Practical details

Please find the conference programme below and also attached. The event is free to attend, but if you have any queries, please contact Dr. Richard McMahon at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . The conference takes place in the Tyrconnell building, which is building 78 on the bottom right of the map that you can find here: