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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Evolution and Racial Theory: The Hidden Side of Wilhelm Bleek
Author:Bank, AndrewISNI
Periodical:South African Historical Journal
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:race relations
biographies (form)
Anthropology and Archaeology
History and Exploration
About person:Wilhelm Heinrich Immanuel Bleek (1827-1875)ISNI
External link:https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/02582470008671911
Abstract:This article challenges the highly selective and romanticized image of the German scholar and philologist, Wilhelm Bleek, in southern African scholarship during recent decades. It argues that the interest in Bleek's pioneering research into San mythology during the period between 1870 and 1875 ignores the fact that his intellectual contribution spanned almost twenty-five years. A consideration of Bleek's early writings of the late 1850s and 1860s shows how he contributed to evolutionary theory by comparing the 'primitive' language of Bushmen with the communication of primates and by classifying the indigenous peoples of southern Africa into Hottentots, Bushmen and Bantu. He also was not averse to new biological forms of classification and became actively involved in applying a project of anthropometric photography. Ref.