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Peking Man and the Politics of Paleoanthropological Nationalism in China

Barry Sautman
The Journal of Asian Studies
Vol. 60, No. 1 (Feb., 2001), pp. 95-124
DOI: 10.2307/2659506
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2659506
Page Count: 30
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Peking Man and the Politics of Paleoanthropological Nationalism in China
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Abstract

Barry Sautman discusses debates about paleoanthropology and their political and cultural implications in China. A substantial body of Chinese scientific opinion disputes the "out of Africa" hypothesis, which suggests that homo sapiens evolved in Africa one to two hundred thousand years ago. These scientists argue instead that humans originated in China. Sautman's essay is rich with implications for connections between science and nationalism, and his invocation of Piltdown Man ("the first Englishman") reminds us that the conjuncture between paleoanthropology and nationalism is not particular to China.

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