The post-Darwinian theory of atavism forecasted obstacles to human progress in the reappearance of throwback physical or cultural traits. In this stimulating work, Dana Seitler explores how modernity itself is an atavism. Examining late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century science, fiction, and photography, Seitler discovers how modern thought oriented itself around this paradigm of obsolescence and return—one that served to sustain ideologies of gender, sexuality, and race.
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