polygenism

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polygenism

(pə-lĭj′ə-nĭz′əm)
n.
The discredited theory that humans of different races are descended from different ancestors. Also called polygeny.

po·lyg′e·nist n.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Douglass pointed out that the cornerstone of polygenist thinking and of American slavery was the erroneous idea that the Negro race was somehow not a part of the human family.
As noted above, d'Eichthal was an early adherent of the newly invented discipline of ethnology, advocating the polygenist, or multiple origins, thesis of race.
Most of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century "scientific racism," especially in its polygenist incarnations, is impeccably material and deeply antiegalitarian.
Firmin was at the forefront of critical inquiry into the subject in the nineteenth century, as he advanced the monogenist perspective on the evolution of humans when most European thinkers maintained a polygenist theory, which argued that the races evolved separately, not from a single source.
Louis Agassiz (1807 - 1873), a contemporary of Charles Darwin, explained that human races resulted from schemes of creation in which particular animals and plants were designed to fit specific physical environments (zones of creation, Gould 1981.) Agassiz was a polygenist. These naturalists thought that there had been separate creations of human species.
Polygenist theories like Knox's, in contrast, claimed that the races of humankind each derived from a separate origin and that their distinguishing traits were thus innate and possibly unalterable.
Polygenist accounts of human diversity certainly became more widespread and systematic in the early nineteenth century.
(14.) My aim here is not to open a discussion on the theories of these authors and their differences, such as, for example, the debate between monogenist and polygenist anthropologists or their appropriation of the ideas of Buffon and/or Darwin.
Douglass of course had long been thinking about race and cultural origins, and in one of his best known antebellum lectures, "The Claims of the Negro Ethnologically Considered," a graduation speech delivered in 1854 before the Philozetian and Phi Delta literary societies of Western Reserve College in Hudson, Ohio, he had sought to counter the racist, polygenist arguments of the leading exponents of the so-called "American School" of ethnology--Josiah Nott, Samuel Morton, George Gliddon, and others--who had made avowedly scientific claims about the racial and cultural inferiority, separate evolution, and absolute difference of black peoples in relation to whites.
The same idea was put forward by the philologist Wilhelm von Humboldt (1767-1835).(21) Neither was a polygenist, yet their philosophy of language did not suit Prichard's monogenism.
Nott was a polygenist who wanted to "cut loose the natural history of mankind from the Bible" and place anthropology on a scientific footing.
Polygenist thinking, both before and after Darwin, was oriented by the internal metaphor of the human self.