Categorizing Difference: Biology, Race, and Politics in Late Classical Greece


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation explores a set of relationships among biology, race, and politics in the Late Classical Greek world. It demonstrates how thinkers from this era developed an approach to anthropological difference based on phenotypic qualities and other biological phenomena. This study argues that such an approach led to the development of systems structured to categorize differences in human populations. From a study of Aristotle’s works on natural science and politics, and the political career of his most famous student, Alexander the Great, this research shows how biological conceptions of human difference and attempts to categorize difference were applicable to theoretical statecraft, the real world practice of international relations, and the pursuit of imperialism.