Search

John Davidson Phrenological Collection

"Phrenology" was a pseudo-science that was popular in the nineteenth century, and was based on the idea that by examining the skulls of individual human beings it was possible to derive conclusions about the person's intelligence and character. Its originator was the German physician Franz Josef Gall (1758- 1828). "Phrenology" was a key component in the development of the so-called "scientific racism" of the nineteenth century, and eventually contributed, as a “scientific” theory, to the emergence of apartheid in South Africa. This small, specialised collection of around 120 volumes, published between 1815 and the 1970s, provides an overview of the development of this pseudo-science, and was bequeathed to the university by John Davidson in 1981. The prefix before the shelf number is BDD.