Journal of American Studies

Research Article

“‘Scientific’ Racism Again?”:1 Reginald Gates, the Mankind Quarterly and the Question of “Race” in Science after the Second World War



Biologist and botanist Reginald Gates is mainly remembered as a staunch scientific conservative, a defender of racial theory and fierce opponent of racial mixing. In post-war Britain and America, Gates's racial views made him something of a pariah. This article explores Gates's post-war career as a micro-historical analysis of racial science and society after the Second World War. It examines the relationship between scientific racists and segregationists in the US, especially concerning the Brown ruling and the establishment of the Mankind Quarterly journal, arguing that science in this period was subsumed into politics as protagonists on both sides of the segregation debate used science to justify ideological positions.

Gavin Schaffer is a Lecturer in the School of Social, Historical and Literary Studies at the University of Portsmouth, Milldam, Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, PO1 3AS, UK. I would like to thank Tony Kushner, Bill Tucker and John Oldfield for advice on this research. I would also like to thank the staff at the Liddell Hart Archive, King's College, London.


1 This title is borrowed from an article by the Mexico-based physical anthropologist Juan Comas, attacking the Mankind Quarterly journal. See Juan Comas, “‘Scientific’ Racism Again?”, Current Anthropology, 2, 4 (1961), 303–40. Comas wrote other influential articles attacking the concept of “race.” See Juan Comas, Racial Myths (Paris: UNESCO, 1951).