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What happened to ‘race’ in race biology? The Swedish State Institute for Race Biology, 1936−1960

Ericsson, Martin LU (2020) In Scandinavian Journal of History
Abstract

The Swedish State Institute for Race Biology (SIRB) was founded in 1921 and immediately became the most important institution for racial science in Sweden. We know a great deal about the history of SIRB until 1935, when right-wing director Herman Lundborg retired and was replaced by the left-wing, anti-fascist Gunnar Dahlberg. In this essay, the later history of SIRB is for the first time examined systematically, starting in 1935 and ending with the reorganization of SIRB in the years around 1960, when the name was changed to the Institution of Medical Genetics at Uppsala University. The essay shows that while the majority of research projects at SIRB concerned medical genetics in the years 1936−1960, racial science never disappeared.... (More)

The Swedish State Institute for Race Biology (SIRB) was founded in 1921 and immediately became the most important institution for racial science in Sweden. We know a great deal about the history of SIRB until 1935, when right-wing director Herman Lundborg retired and was replaced by the left-wing, anti-fascist Gunnar Dahlberg. In this essay, the later history of SIRB is for the first time examined systematically, starting in 1935 and ending with the reorganization of SIRB in the years around 1960, when the name was changed to the Institution of Medical Genetics at Uppsala University. The essay shows that while the majority of research projects at SIRB concerned medical genetics in the years 1936−1960, racial science never disappeared. SIRB scientists engaged in theoretical debates on the concept of race and conducted racial surveys of the Swedish population, using anthropometry and later serology as research methods. The results support the international hypothesis that racial science underwent important changes from the 1930s and onwards but did not really cease to exist.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Gunnar Dahlberg, history of genetics, Race biology, racial science, racialization, the State Institute for Race Biology
in
Scandinavian Journal of History
publisher
Routledge
external identifiers
  • scopus:85087565593
ISSN
0346-8755
DOI
10.1080/03468755.2020.1778520
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
836023b7-7477-47b0-b27c-4d825f76f3ab
date added to LUP
2020-07-17 10:12:32
date last changed
2020-07-22 04:22:04
@article{836023b7-7477-47b0-b27c-4d825f76f3ab,
  abstract     = {<p>The Swedish State Institute for Race Biology (SIRB) was founded in 1921 and immediately became the most important institution for racial science in Sweden. We know a great deal about the history of SIRB until 1935, when right-wing director Herman Lundborg retired and was replaced by the left-wing, anti-fascist Gunnar Dahlberg. In this essay, the later history of SIRB is for the first time examined systematically, starting in 1935 and ending with the reorganization of SIRB in the years around 1960, when the name was changed to the Institution of Medical Genetics at Uppsala University. The essay shows that while the majority of research projects at SIRB concerned medical genetics in the years 1936−1960, racial science never disappeared. SIRB scientists engaged in theoretical debates on the concept of race and conducted racial surveys of the Swedish population, using anthropometry and later serology as research methods. The results support the international hypothesis that racial science underwent important changes from the 1930s and onwards but did not really cease to exist.</p>},
  author       = {Ericsson, Martin},
  issn         = {0346-8755},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {06},
  publisher    = {Routledge},
  series       = {Scandinavian Journal of History},
  title        = {What happened to ‘race’ in race biology? The Swedish State Institute for Race Biology, 1936−1960},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03468755.2020.1778520},
  doi          = {10.1080/03468755.2020.1778520},
  year         = {2020},
}