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History and Philosophy

The Mankind Quarterly was founded as a quarterly journal of anthropology, in the broadest sense of "the science of man," in 1961. This was a time when the "study of man" had already diversified into physical anthropology, ethnography, quantitative cross-cultural research, archaeology and other subspecialties. Psychological and linguistic approaches were explored but the genetic study of population structure and population history was still in its infancy.

These developments took place against the background of a widening gulf between the biological and social sciences. Cultural and social anthropologists tended to align themselves with the leading dogma of the day, and began to deny the relevance of biology to behavioral and cultural phenomena. Conversely, biological (physical) anthropologists aligned themselves with the "hard" sciences, many describing themselves as human biologists rather than anthropologists in an attempt to distance themselves from a social anthropology that they no longer saw as scientifically sound. In many places, these divisions persist to the present day.

The Mankind Quarterly was founded as a response to these centrifugal trends. Its founders were united in the view that human biology, behavior and culture interact in manifold ways. They also were united in the view that biological and cultural diversity can only be understood as the outcomes of evolutionary, ecological, and historic processes.

Thus The Mankind Quarterly was founded as a journal for those scholars who still believed in a unified "science of man" that studied the interactions between biological and cultural diversity. It was published in Edinburgh, Scotland until 1979, and subsequently in the United States by the Council for Social and Economic Studies, Washington DC. In January 2015, Ulster Institute for Social Research, London, England took over as publishers.

The founders of The Mankind Quarterly included some of the most renowned scholars of their time in the field of anthropology and related disciplines. In the course of its 45-year existence its editorial board has included the following distinguished scholars:

Anthropology & Sociology: Sir Charles Darwin Galton (Cambridge); R. Ruggles Gates (London), Luigi Gedda (Rome), Corrado Gini (Rome)

Archaeology and Palaeontology: Henri V. Vallois (Paris); Bertil Lundman (Uppsala)

Genetics: David C. Rife (New Delhi), J.D.J. Hofmeyr (Pretoria); O. von Verschuer (Muenster)

Mythology: Joseph Campbell (New York),

Psychology: Raymond B. Cattell (Honolulu), Henry E. Garrett (Columbia & Chapel Hill), Frank C. McGurk (Villanova), S.D. Porteus (Honolulu), Audrey Shuey (Randolph-Macon)

Sociology: Charles C. Josey (Indiana), Stefan T. Possony (Stanford), Herbert Sanborn (Tennessee), H. Turney-High (South Carolina)

Throughout its existence The Mankind Quarterly has continued to conceive of anthropology as a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary science that seeks to integrate all aspects of the "science of man." It retains, in its original title, the concept of "mankind" as involving the study of both fossil populations and living peoples, free from any sexist or political implications. Today the editorial board includes scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, ranging from primatology, physical anthropology and human genetics, to psychology, sociology, mythology and history. Despite their diverse expertise and views, the editors share a common interest in the evolutionary and historical processes that generate human diversity as well as those physical and cultural qualities that are common to all living human populations.

Since history and biological evolution are ongoing processes, this includes an interest in the social, cultural, demographic and biological changes that are taking place in modern societies. Many of the articles the journal publishes are of an historical nature and deal with the origins of ethnic, linguistic and cultural diversity we see today. However, the editors are also interested in the currently ongoing demographic changes that will determine the direction of future human evolution, such as disparities in the fertility rates of living populations.

The Mankind Quarterly is not and never has been afraid to publish articles in controversial areas, including behavioral group differences and the importance of mental ability for individual outcomes and group differences. During the "Bell Curve wars" of the 1990s, it received more than its fair share of criticism when opponents realized that many of the works cited by Herrnstein and Murray had first been published in The Mankind Quarterly. However, this science has stood the test of time, and MQ is still prepared to publish controversial findings and theories.

Over the years, advances in genetics and medical science have stimulated new approaches that are helping to close the gulf between the biological and social sciences. Sociobiology, now often described as evolutionary psychology, developed during and around the 1970s as the science of "human nature." It gave us the conceptual tools that allow us to explain human behavior and social systems as the products of evolved cognitive systems. In essence, sociobiology tells us that social and ideational systems tend to evolve in conformity with evolving needs, preferences and cognitive biases. Today some of the articles MQ publishes are direct applications of sociobiological theory.

Behavioral genetics is another field that developed into a solid body of knowledge only during the last three decades of the 20th century. Behavioral genetics deals not only with genes. It also analyzes cultural influences on human behavior, both from the family environment and the wider society. One implication of the behavior genetic approach is that to the extent that genes affect human behavior, they are bound to affect the belief systems, values, and social structures that anthropologists describe as "culture." Again, some of the articles MQ publishes incorporate insights from behavioral genetics.

Today we see an explosive growth of molecular population genetics. With the help of DNA microarrays and other innovative technologies, molecular geneticists are bound to resolve many of the long-standing controversies about genetic diversity and evolutionary trend lines, both in past and present human populations. Associations of behavioral traits with individual genetic variants are being reported with increasing frequency, and molecular explanations of behavioral diversity are becoming possible.

Even more promising (or ominous?) is the prospect of being able to choose or manipulate our genes at will. In theory, although not altogether in practice, this makes the future course of human evolution a matter of conscious choice. Only a coherent, unified "science of man" can enable us to respond sensibly to these new challenges and opportunities. The development and dissemination of this science is the major task for The Mankind Quarterly.