Scientific Authority, Nationalism, and Colonial Entanglements between Germany, Spain, and the Philippines, 1850 to 1900
Weston, Nathaniel Parker
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This dissertation analyzes the impact of German anthropology and natural history on colonialism and nationalism in Germany, Spain, the Philippines, and the United States during the second half of the nineteenth-century. In their scientific tracts, German authors rehearsed the construction of racial categories among colonized peoples in the years prior to the acquisition of formal colonies in Imperial Germany and portrayed their writings about Filipinos as superior to all that had been previously produced. Spanish writers subsequently translated several German studies to promote continued economic exploitation of the Philippines and uphold notions of Spaniards' racial supremacy over Filipinos. However, Filipino authors also employed the translations, first to demand colonial reform and to examine civilizations in the Philippines before and after the arrival of the Spanish, and later to formulate nationalist arguments. By the 1880s, the writings of Filipino intellectuals found an audience in newly established German scientific associations, such as the German Society for Anthropology, Ethnology, and Prehistory, and German-language periodicals dealing with anthropology, ethnology, geography, and folklore. Into the 1890s, Filipino nationalists used scientific authority and references to German studies of the Philippines in polemics against Spanish authors who opposed colonial reform. After the U.S. defeat of Spain and refusal to grant Philippine independence in 1898, pro- and anti-imperialists in the United States also utilized evidence produced by German scholars to argue for and against colonization of the islands. Ultimately, this dissertation demonstrates that the creation and circulation of anthropological tracts and natural histories in a colonial context by foreign scholars contains the potential to support multiple imperialist and nationalist projects simultaneously.
- History