Gods of the Upper Air

How a Circle of Renegade Anthropologists Reinvented Race, Sex, and Gender in the Twentieth Century

Ranked #93 in Anthropology

A dazzling group portrait of Franz Boas, the founder of cultural anthropology, and his circle of women scientists, who upended American notions of race, gender, and sexuality in the 1920s and 1930s--a sweeping chronicle of how our society began to question the basic ways we understand other cultures and ourselves.

At the end of the 19th century, everyone knew that people were defined by their race and sex and were fated by birth and biology to be more or less intelligent, able, nurturing, or warlike. But one rogue researcher looked at the data and decided everyone was wrong....

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Gods of the Upper Air from the world's leading experts.

Ibram X. Kendi @charleskingdc @JimGoldgeier Oh, thank you. But Charles your new bestseller, Gods of the Upper Air, is so necessary too for our times with eugenics and newer versions of pseudoscientific bigotry ascendant. I’m so glad for the great reception to your wonderful book. (Source)

Damakant Jayshi About to finish this wonderful book, Gods of the Upper Air by @charleskingdc. It's been a fascinating read so far! https://t.co/YHMeMlRk6P (Source)

Elizabeth Taylor At the centre of King’s fascinating book is Columbia University’s Franz Boas (1858–1942), the father of cultural anthropology who challenged his era’s prevailing wisdom that race, gender and sexuality were destiny. While Boas championed cultural diversity and scientific discovery, he also created an environment that inspired a circle of visionary women researchers whose who were pathbreaking. (Source)

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