Measuring the Master Race: Physical Anthropology in Norway, 1890-1945

Measuring the Master Race: Physical Anthropology in Norway, 1890-1945 Jon Røyne Kyllingstad
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[...] the book is both well researched, well written and enlightening.
— Paul Duedahl, Historisk Tidsskrift, 115/2 (2016): 223-226

[Kyllingstad's] excellent new book . . . is essential reading for students of Scandinavian physical anthropology and related topics, such as Scandinavian prehistory and eugenics, and Norwegian national identity. Yet this fascinating book will be of great interest to a much broader audience as well. It is an important contribution to the history of racism and racial science, and its lessons are pertinent to current philosophical issues to do with 'race'. . . Measuring the Master Race will be a compelling read and a valuable resource.
— Adam Hochman, Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences (2015),

The notion of a superior ‘Germanic’ or ‘Nordic’ race was a central theme in Nazi ideology. But it was also a commonly accepted idea in the early twentieth century, an actual scientific concept originating from anthropological research on the physical characteristics of Europeans. The Scandinavian Peninsula was considered to be the historical cradle and the heartland of this ‘master race’.

Measuring the Master Race investigates the role played by Scandinavian scholars in inventing this so-called superior race, and discusses how the concept stamped Norwegian physical anthropology, prehistory, national identity and the eugenics movement. It also explores the decline and scientific discrediting of these ideas in the 1930s as they came to be associated with the genetic cleansing of Nazi Germany.

This is the first comprehensive study of Norwegian physical anthropology. Its findings shed new light on current political and scientific debates about race across the globe.

The Norsk Teknisk Museum (Oslo) and NORLA - Norwegian Literature Abroad have generously contributed towards the publication of this volume.

Measuring the Master Race: Physical Anthropology in Norway, 1890-1945
Jon Røyne Kyllingstad | December 2014
Dimensions: 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
ISBN Paperback: 9781909254541
ISBN Hardback: 9781909254558
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781909254565
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781909254572
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781909254589
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0051
BIC subject codes: JHMP (Physical Anthropology), 1DN (Northern Europe, Scandinavia), JPFQ (Fascism and Nazism)

List of Illustrations

1. The Origin of the Long-Skulled Germanic Race
2. The Germanic Race and Norwegian Nationalism
3. The Germanic Race and Norwegian Anthropology, 1880-1910
4. Norwegian Nationhood and the Germanic Race, 1890-1910
5. Racial Hygiene and the Nordic Race, 1900-1933
6. Halfdan Bryn and the Nordic Race
7. The Schreiners and the Science of Race
8. From Collaboration to Conflict: The Racial Survey of 1923-1929
9. Science and Ideology, 1925–1945
10. The Fall of the Nordic Master Race

Selected Bibliography

Jon Røyne Kyllingstad is senior curator at the Norsk Teknisk Museum (the Norwegian Museum of Science and Technology). Jon researches the history of science and medicine, with a special interest in ideas about nation, culture, evolution and race. He has published extensively on the history of Norwegian physical anthropology and, together with Thor Inge Rørvik, he has written a history of the University of Oslo, Universitetet i Oslo 1870-1911 (2011). He is currently investigating the rural history of Norway in the interwar period.

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