Anthropometric portraiture and Victorian anthropology: Situating Francis Galton's photographic work in the late 1870s

Efram Sera-Shriar

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    9 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    This paper examines the complex observational techniques of British anthropologists during the nineteenth century. In particular, using Galton's initial work with anthropometric and composite photography in the late 1870s as a case study, it argues that nineteenth-century anthropological armchair studies were extremely sophisticated and that researchers were highly attuned to the problems associated with their methodologies. These nineteenth-century practitioners were not simply anthologising the materials of others; rather they were developing specialised methods for producing their own evidence and drawing conclusions. Moreover, Galton's use of photographic processes is instructive because it highlights one of the ways in which researchers interested in human diversity attempted to add further scientific credibility to their arguments by utilising the most cutting-edge technologies available during the period.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)155-179
    Number of pages25
    JournalHistory of Science
    Volume53
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015

    Keywords

    • Anthropological armchair studies
    • Anthropometric photography
    • Composite portraiture
    • Francis Galton
    • J.h. Lamprey
    • Scientific observation
    • Thomas huxley
    • Victorian anthropology

    Fingerprint

    Dive into the research topics of 'Anthropometric portraiture and Victorian anthropology: Situating Francis Galton's photographic work in the late 1870s'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this