Turkish Neurosurgery 2018 , Vol 28 , Num 3
How Cranial Shapes Led to Contemporary Ethnic Classification: A Historical View
Deniz BELEN1
1Ankara Numune Education and Research Hospital, Department of Neurosurgery, Ankara, Turkey DOI : 10.5137/1019-5149.JTN.20821-17.0 In the medical literature, various ethnic terms such as Caucasian or Mongolian,are sporadically cited to indicate the relationship between certain disorders and the geographical origin of individuals. Few scientists recognize that those definitions stem from a medical thesis written by the German physician Johann Friedrich Blumenbach in 1775. Through considering cranial shapes, Blumenbach proposed five race varieties including the Caucasian, the Mongolian, the Malayan, the Ethiopian, and the American. While he favored only beauty, his contemporaries reclaimed an intellectuality arrangement among those race types and gave the highest credibility to Caucasian, which therefore, besides defining an ethnicity, has conveyed a discriminatory meaning. The term had been widely used in the medical literature without knowledge of its historical background. Although not commonly used any longer, the Caucasian and similar terms that reflect racial preference should be abandoned in medical text and replaced by more favorable definitions. Keywords : Cultural history, Medical anthropology, Medical ethics
Corresponding author : Deniz BELEN, denizbelen@hotmail.com