a1 Department of History, University of Exeter E-mail: C.Manias@exeter.ac.uk
The German ethnologist Gustav Klemm (1802–67) occupies a rather problematic position in the history of ideas, alternately hailed as a seminal figure in the development of concepts of race and culture, or belittled as a rather derivative marginal thinker. This article seeks to clarify Klemm's significance by rooting his theories in their contemporary intellectual and social context. It argues that his system, a linear model of human development driven by the interworkings of race and culture, grew from an attempt to synthesize Enlightenment notions of universal progress with major shifts of the mid-nineteenth century, including experiences of dramatic social, political and technological change, commitments to constitutional liberalism, and changes in contemporary ethnology and museology. His works therefore illustrate the complex manners in which ideas of heredity, environment, civilization, development and gender could be blended in this often neglected period, and how their meanings and implications altered as syntheses were built.
* I would like to thank the Arts and Humanities Research Council for their generous funding which made this research possible, and Andreas Gestrich, Sonja Janositz, Axel Körner, Martina Krocová, Peter Mandler, Jan Rüger, Michael Schaich, Martina Steber, Silke Strickrodt, and Benedikt Stuchtey for comments and assistance at various stages of this research.