31. Giuseppe Sergi (1841 – 1936)

Born in Messina, At the age of 19 Sergi took part in Garibaldi’s expedition to Sicily. In 1880 he was appointed as professor of anthropology at the University of Bologna and in 1884 he moved to the University of Rome where he developed a program of research into both anthropology and psychology.

In 1893 Sergi took the lead in founding the Roman Society of Anthropology (now the Italian Anthropological Institute and began the Journal of Anthropological Sciences. Internationally renowned for his contributions to anthropology, he also succeeded in establishing the International Conference of Psychology in Rome in 1905, while he was president of the Society. Sergi died at Rome in 1936.

Sergi was best known for his opposition to Nordicism in his books on the racial identity of ancient Mediterranean peoples. He rejected existing racial typologies that identified Mediterranean peoples as “dark whites” as it implied a Nordicist conception of Mediterranean peoples descending from whites whom had become racially mixed with non-whites that he claimed was false. His concept of the Mediterranean race, identified Mediterranean peoples as being an autonomous brown race, originating from the Horn of Africa, and that the Nordic race descended from the Mediterranean race whose skin depigmented to a pale complexion after moving north. This concept became important to the modelling of racial difference in the early twentieth century.

Read More:
1. Treccani, http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/giuseppe-sergi/
2. Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giuseppe_Sergi

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