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 first published in Edinburgh
(Scotland), but publication was transferred to the United
States in 1979, since when it has been published from Washington,
D.C. by the Council for Social and Economic Studies.
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
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
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
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.