AHP readers will be interested in a recent piece in the latest issue of Isis: ““Most Unusual” Beauty Contests: Nordic Photographic Competitions and the Construction of a Public for German Race Science, 1926–1935,” by Andrew D. Evans. Abstract:
In the late 1920s and early 1930s, professional anthropologists and prominent race scientists in Germany served as judges in a series of mail-in photographic competitions designed to identify the most representative examples of the so-called Nordic race. This essay examines the interactions between judges and audience in three of these contests. Race scientists and entrants collaborated to construct a vision of the Nordic race as primarily male and middle and upper class. More important, the contests served to configure the very categories of “science” and “lay public” for the new discipline of race science (Rassenkunde), setting them in an unequal relationship to each other. Race scientists portrayed their audience as the entire German people, or Volk, which they represented as desperately in need of racial knowledge that only experts in Rassenkunde could provide. Rather than breaking down divisions between race scientists and the public, the collaborative process of the contests served to construct those very categories.