• A Prodigious Bodily Nature. Debates on Albinism 1609-1745

    Author(s):
    Enrico Pasini (see profile)
    Date:
    2016
    Group(s):
    Renaissance / Early Modern Studies
    Subject(s):
    Early modern philosophy
    Item Type:
    Book chapter
    Tag(s):
    Albinism, Human nature
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/j00w-zd27
    Abstract:
    From Spanish and Portuguese travelers to Maupertuis, the problem of albinos, or ‘white Negroes’, as they would be called, has been an epitome of strangeness, a disturbing and/or marvelous appendix to human essence, and has often been instrumental to various definitions of identity. Some major historical and cultural episodes concerning the intellectual statute of albinism will be sketched, culminating with the famous 18th-century debates and in particular with Maupertuis’ studies of hereditary phenomena. At this time, new understanding of albinism would be part of a deep change in the meaning of ‘nature’, in the centre of a major scientific development that disconnects nature (and essence) from the stability of species and races, and that will shift the focus from stability to variability.
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    Published as:
    Book chapter    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    2 years ago
    License:
    Attribution-ShareAlike
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