Abstract

This paper highlights the circumstances of the Amistad case to discuss the connection between phrenology and race in antebellum American society. The trial of the Amistad captives in 1840–41 occurred at a time when opinions about racial differences were evolving into scientific theories about racial hierarchies. Phrenology was a popular science disseminated through publications, itinerant practitioners, and visual exhibitions that reinforced long-held beliefs about race. As subjects of phrenological investigation, the African men and children of the Amistad were examined, measured, and assessed within the context of ongoing debates about race and about American slavery.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1559-0895
Print ISSN
1543-4273
Pages
pp. 164-193
Launched on MUSE
2017-02-10
Open Access
No
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