By Andrew Zimmerman
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Extra info for Anthropology and Antihumanism in Imperial Germany
For Lorenz, the Göttingen historian and 1848 revolutionary Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann had rightly focused history on European politics. Ranke’s great achievement was to finally set to rest the confusion about the goals of history and show that history emerged “not from Schlosser’s idea of universal history, not from the philosophical presuppositions of certain intentions . . ”22 Eduard Meyer, the great historian of Near Eastern and classical antiquity, included a section called “Elements of Anthropology” at the beginning of his great History of Antiquity, a section he expanded to over 250 pages in the 1907 edition.
Despite the mass of “natural scientific” data that anthropologists had been able to collect, the debate about racial relations among Africans and West Asians continually returned to questions about historical events. 29 The final intervention of history occurred in the Mahdist uprising, when the history of colonialism itself prevented further “Nubian” performances, which, anthropologists hoped, might have offered more conclusive evidence. This, however, did not lead anthropologists to abandon their quest for natural peoples; they simply looked elsewhere.
He discussed only the Volkscharakter of the French, the English, the Spanish, the Italians, and the Germans, he explained, because Russia, Poland, and European Turkey (and presumably all other nations as well) did not have what was necessary to develop a Volkscharakter. 9 In his 1784 essay “Idea for a Universal History with a Cosmopolitan Intent,” Kant argued that the possibility for writing world history that was more than the “senseless course of human affairs” depended on the nations of the world becoming connected to European history.