Does Size Matter?

The Measurement of the Jewish Skull in Hungary (1875–1944)

It is debated among historians to what extent racism in science influenced early Hungarian physical anthropology. According to one opinion, the fin-de-siècle anthropologists of Hungary were inclined to think in terms of racial superiority and inferiority. According to another view, they refrained from the biologization of ethnic differences and from creating racial hierarchies. The history of the pre-holocaust investigation of the Jewish skull capacity in Hungary does not fit perfectly into any of the aforementioned narratives. The craniologists measured the size of Jews’ head, but they never concluded from the results of their researches to the intellectual capability of the Jewry. However, the reason for it was not that they denied the existence of the difference between the intellectual endowment of various races, but that they did not believe in the principle of “size does matter”, that is to say they did not think that a larger brain is associated with a higher level of intelligence.

Released: Replika 113, 115–141.