Race, Science, and the Nation

Reconstructing the Ancient Past in Britain, France and Germany
Manias, Chris
Date published: 
May 2013

Across the nineteenth century, scholars in Britain, France and the German lands sought to understand their earliest ancestors: Germanic and Celtic tribes known from classical antiquity, and the newly discovered peoples of prehistory. This was a decidedly national process: disciplines institutionalized on national levels, and their findings had implications for the origins of the nation and its "racial composition”. Race, Science and the Nation offers a comparative, cross-national and multi-disciplinary history of the scholarly reconstruction of European prehistory. It brings to light a formerly unstudied motif of nineteenth-century national consciousness, showing how intellectuals in the era of nation-building themselves drove an idea of their nations being "constructed" from a useable past.