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Philanthropy and Science in the 1830's: The British and Foreign Aborigines' Protection Society

Ronald Rainger
Man
New Series, Vol. 15, No. 4 (Dec., 1980), pp. 702-717
DOI: 10.2307/2801541
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2801541
Page Count: 16
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Philanthropy and Science in the 1830's: The British and Foreign Aborigines' Protection Society
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Abstract

Before the Royal Anthropological Institute was formed, a number of organisations in midnineteenth century England were concerned with the study of anthropology. The oldest was the Aborigines' Protection Society, an institutions that arose from philanthropic concerns and whose members embodied an interest in anthropology largely incidental to their humanitarian interest in the welfare of non-European peoples. That organisation, founded in 1837 by the Quaker physician Thomas Hodgkin, worked actively to publish ethnographic materials on non-Europeans so as to help change the British view of those peoples and thereby moderate British colonial activities. In the view of Hodgkin and other leaders of the Aborigines' Protection Society, there was no conflict between philanthropic and scientific objectives; but by 1842 a combination of internal problems and the success of other scientific societies led some of these individuals to separate those objectivees institutionally, and in 1843 to create the Ethnological Society of London.

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