Sanguinary Amusement: E.A. Freeman, the Comparative Method and Victorian Theories of Race

Morrisroe, Vicky L ORCID: 0000-0002-4923-3070 (2013) Sanguinary Amusement: E.A. Freeman, the Comparative Method and Victorian Theories of Race. Modern Intellectual History, 10 (1). pp. 27-56.

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This article seeks to revise the conventional portrait of the historian E. A. Freeman (1823–92) as an arch-racist and confident proponent of Aryan superiority. Focusing on the relatively obscure Comparative Politics (1873), it is argued that, while attitudes towards race were hardening in the later nineteenth century, Freeman combined the insights of the practitioners of the Comparative Method and the Liberal Anglican philosophy of Thomas Arnold to define the Aryan race as a community of culture rather than of blood. Explicitly rejecting biological interpretations of race, Freeman and the practitioners of the Comparative Method used the Aryan concept to denote a community of languages, myths, laws and political institutions and, in recognizing the instability of culture, articulated an account of progress that was cyclical rather than unilinear. It will be demonstrated that Freeman's Aryan universalism issued in anxieties concerning the future stability of the West and a fear that recapitulation might be engendered by contemporary political expansionism and contact with the rival civilization of the despotic East.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: E. A. Freeman (1823–92)historian, racism, Aryan race,
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DA Great Britain
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Creative Arts
Research Priority Areas: Culture, Continuity, and Transformation
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 19 Aug 2015 15:55
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:56

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