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Heredity: A Very Short Introduction

John Waller

August 2017

ISBN: 9780198790457

176 pages
Paperback
174x111mm

In Stock

Very Short Introductions

Price: £7.99

John Waller describes the changing ideas concerning heredity from antiquity to the modern biological understanding, considering both the efforts over the centuries to identify the physiological mechanisms involved and how views of heredity have been used to justify or condemn inequalities of class, gender, and race.

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Description

John Waller describes the changing ideas concerning heredity from antiquity to the modern biological understanding, considering both the efforts over the centuries to identify the physiological mechanisms involved and how views of heredity have been used to justify or condemn inequalities of class, gender, and race.

  • Provides an overview of over two thousand years of human thought on the subject of heredity, and considers how scientific progress came about
  • Considers the ways in which understandings of heredity of the past were used to shape social hierarchies and oppress elements of society due to their gender or race
  • Highlights the implications of our modern understanding of genetics and the important ethical challenges that we will need to confront in the immediate future
  • Part of the Very Short Introductions series - over eight million copies sold worldwide

About the Author(s)

John Waller, Associate Professor of the History of Science and Medicine, Michigan State University

John Waller has taught at University College London and the University of Melbourne, and is currently an associate professor of the history of science and medicine at Michigan State University. He is the author of several books on scientific discovery and social history, including Fabulous Science (OUP, 2002), The Discovery of the Germ (Columbia, 2003), Leaps in the Dark (OUP, 2004), and A Time to Dance, A Time To Die (Icon, 2009). He is currently completing a study of the history of dehumanization.

Table of Contents

    Preface
    1: Heredity in antiquity
    2: Ideas of heredity in Medieval Europe, 500AD-1450AD
    3: Heredity in the early modern world, 1450-1700
    4: Heredity in the Enlightenment
    5: Heredity in the nineteenth century
    6: The discovery of the gene
    7: The rise and rise of medical genetics
    8: Uncertain progress: race, class and gender, 1900-2016
    References
    Further Reading
    Index

Reviews

"A terrific study that interlaces the science with stimulating discussions about the ways in which hereditarian ideas once played out in eugenics, slavery, IQ and gender relations, including the ethical dilemmas of modern medical research." - Janet Browne, author of Charles Darwin : A Biography