A Reading List on Biological Determinism

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A Reading List on Biological Determinism

by Boston SftP Sociobiology Study Group

‘Science for the People’ Vol. 9, No. 5, September-October 1977, p. 27

1. The Rise of Social Darwinism

Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought. Boston: Beacon Press, 1955. 

Zmarzlik, “Social Darwinism in Germany, Seen as an Historical Problem,” Chap. 10 in Republic to Reich: The Making of the Nazi Revolution, (ed.) H. Holborn, Vintage Books; 1973, pp. 435-474.

2. The History of “Scientific” Attitudes Toward Sex Differences

Conway, “Stereotypes of Femininity in a Theory of Sexual Evolution,” in Victorian Studies, Sept. 1970, Vol. 14, p. 51. 

Elizabeth Fee, “The Sexual Politics of Victorian Social Anthropology,” in Clio’s Consciousness: New Perspectives on the History of Women, (eds.) M. Hartman and L. Banner, 1974. 

Eva Figes, Patriarchal Attitudes, esp. chap. 6 “Learning to be a Woman.” 

Havelock Ellis, Male and Female: A Study of Human Secondary Sexual Characters. 

Herbert Spencer, “On the Comparative Psychology of the Sexes,” in The Study of Sociology, London, 1973, pp. 373-383. 

A. Shields, “Functionalism, Darwinism, and the Psychology of Women: A Study in Social Myth,” American Psychologist, July 1975, pp. 739-754. 

3. The History of Scientific Racism

Thomas Gossett, Race: The History of an Idea in America. Schocken Books, 1968. 

John Haller, Outcasts from Evolution: Scientific Attitudes of Racial Inferiority, 1859-1900, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1971. 

Haller, Eugenics: Hereditarian Attitudes in American Thought. 

Winthrop Jordan, White over Black: American Attitudes Toward the Negro 1550-1812. Penguin Books, 1969. 

Vann Woodward, The Strange Case of Jim Crow. Oxford, 1974. 

4. Social Darwinism and American Education

A. Corporate Interests Shape American Education: 

Curti and R. Nash, Philanthropy in the Shaping of American Education.

Clarence Karier, Shaping the American Educational State: 1900 to the Present. The Free Press, 1975. 

Upton Sinclair, The Goose Step: A Study of American Education (1922). 

Rudolph, The American College and University. 1965. 

B. ‘Intelligence’ Testing: the immigration experience; eugenics movement; race and IQ; IQ tests as a means of excluding minorities and the poor from the mainstream: 

E.G. Boring, A History of Experimental Psychology. 

C.C. Brigham, A Study of American Intelligence (1924). 

N.J. Block and G. Dworkin, The IQ Controversy. Random House, 1976. 

Leon Kamin, The Science and Politics of IQ. 1975.

Haller. See above.

Karier. See above. Science for the People. IQ: Scientific and Social Issues. 

5. Biological Determinism and the Labor Movement

Richard O. Boyer and H.M. Morais, Labor’s Untold Story. 1955. 

Feldstein, The Ordeal of Assimilation: A Documentary History of the White Working Class, Anchor Books, 1974. 

6. Sociobiology: Scientific and Political Issues

The claims of the sociobiologists are summarized in two versions, the first scientific and the second popular mass media.

E.O. Wilson, Sociobiology: The New Synthesis. The Belknap Press, Harvard, 1975. Chapter 27. 

Interview with Irven DeVore, “The New Science of Genetic Self-Interest,” in Psychology Today, Feb. 1977, pp. 42ff. 

Critiques of sociobiology on scientific and political grounds include:

Science for the People Sociobiology Study Group. Sociobiology—A New Biological Determinism

Alper et al. “The Implications of Sociobiology,” Science 192:424, (1976) 

S.J. Gould, “Biological Potentiality versus Biological Determinism,” Natural History, May 1976, p. 12. 

R.C. Lewontin, “The Fallacy of Biological Determinism,” The Sciences, March-April 1976, p. 6.

Sahlins, The Use and Abuse of Biology: An Anthropological Critique of Sociobiology. Univ. of Michigan Press, 1976. 

7. Biological Determinism as an Ideological Weapon

Ann Arbor Science for the People Editorial Collective, Biology as a Social Weapon, Burgess Publishing Co., Minneapolis, 1977.

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