Author: James Cowles Prichard

Title: ‘Reasearches into the Physical History of Man', (1826)

Keywords: Race

Pages: Introduction |  1  |  


Born in Ross-on-Wye in 1786, James Cowles Prichard was an English ethnologist and physician, whose influential Researches into the Physical History of Man was first published in 1813. It underwent numerous further editions and was translated into French and German. This multi-volume work argues that the human species had represented a unity in primitive times, but that this unified whole had since been divided by various factors into permanent varieties or races. Prichard also sought to vindicate the account of anthropology given in the Book of Genesis, and rejected the Lamarckian notion that acquired characteristics could become hereditary. The work is dedicated to the German anthropologist, physiologist and physician, Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), whose racial classification system it adopts. By the 1830s, Prichard was acclaimed as the preeminent authority on matters of ethnology and anthropology. Prichard died at home on Russell Square, London, in 1848.

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