Defining the Chinese “race” in 20th century China

Chinese skull
Armand de Quatrefages de Breau, Ernest Theodore Hamy. Crania ethnica : Les crânes des races humaines. Paris: Baillière, 1882.

In the early twentieth century, defining Chinese characteristics in quantitative terms allowed comparisons and provided scientific answers in the search for the relative position of the Chinese in the historical evolution of human beings and the origins of mankind that challenged earlier culturally defined notions of a Chinese race. In this seminar, Prof. Dr. Andrea Bréard looks at the statistical construction of a notion of the Chinese race and complements the history of Karl Pearson’s (1857–1936) Biometric Laboratory in London, a history which has overlooked the circulation and nationally contoured fate of biometric knowledge and approaches to the notion of “race” on a more global scale including China.