ABOUT THIS BOOK
In 1930, Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History commissioned sculptor Malvina Hoffman to produce three-dimensional models of racial types for an anthropology display called The Races of Mankind. Marianne Kinkel’s cultural biography of the long-running exhibition measures how Hoffman’s ninety-one bronze and stone sculptures impacted perceptions of race in twentieth-century visual culture. Kinkel looks at how Hoffman's collaborations with curators and anthropologists transformed the commission from a traditional physical anthropology display into a fine art exhibit. She also tracks appearances of statuettes of the works in New York and Paris exhibitions and looks at how publishers used images of the sculptures to illustrate atlases, maps, and encyclopedias. The volume concludes with the dismantling of the exhibit in 1969 and the Field Museum’s redeployment of some of the sculptures in new educational settings.
A fascinating cultural history, Races of Mankind examines how we continually re-negotiate the veracity of race through collaborative processes involved in the production, display, and circulation of visual representations.