“Race” and Science between Berlin-Dahlem and India: the Circulation and Transformation of Racialized Knowledge by Irawati Karvé

Thiago Pinto Barbosa
Thiago Pinto Barbosa
Image Credit: "Drawings of skull measurement method by Irawati Karvé (Source: Karvé, I. (1931). Normale Asymmetrie des menschlichen Schädels. Inaugural-Dissertation. Leipzig: Schwarzenberg & Schumann.)"

Knowledge about “race” has been scientifically produced and transformed through circulations in time and space. This PhD research project will focus on one key transnational flow of racialized knowledge, namely the one between the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Anthropology, Human Heredity and Eugenics (KWI-A) in Berlin-Dahlem and research institutions in India. An ethnography will be structured by two analytical steps: 1) a historical reconstruction of Indian anthropologist Irawati Karvé’s racialized knowledge production praxis, both during her research stay at the KWI-A (1928-1930) and at the University of Pune, India (1931-1970); and 2) an anthropological examination of current racialized knowledge production in scientific settings in India. Through the perspective of postcolonial science studies, the analysis will bring to the foreground the political and social entanglements of such scientific praxis. Hence, the project will contribute to a critical understanding of continuities and changes in the global production and circulation of racialized knowledge on human diversity.