Re: Coon and Middle East

Ralph L Holloway (rlh2@COLUMBIA.EDU)
Wed, 22 Nov 1995 22:46:45 -0500

I have to agree with Eldridge's view of Coon's Origin of Races. I am
currently teaching a course on the biological basis of human variation,
and while I think Coon overdid the continuity of separated fossil
hominids with modern human variation, I haven't found his writings
particularly "racist" in the sense that almost all of us mean "racist".
His books on human variation, incidentally, have quite abit of
interesting data and ideas about human adaptations, and his photographs
in "Origins..." underlined how variable the human species is, and
certainly impressed me that Coon simply loved human variability in all of
its manifestations. I haven't read his book on the Middle East, and thus
far I haven't seen any observations in this thread that shows why he was
a "racist" or what his "racist" views were regarding the Middle East.
Could one of our Middle East experts comment on this particular charge?
Incidentally, the recent book by Pat Shipman, "Evolution of Racism",
Simon and Schuster, has a long discussion of Coon's alledged "racism".
Coon was extraordinarily knowledgeable and travelled extensively in North
Africa and the Middle East. Does his Middle East book really declare
Middle east peoples are inferior or that their culture is lacking?
Ralph Holloway