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January Lecture: ‘The ethnological foundation of the Scottish Enlightenment’

January 11 @ 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


This will be a hybrid event hosted by the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland which will take place both in Augustine United Church and online. Immediately after the lecture there will be a drinks reception.

This event is free and open to everyone.

Lecture will be presented by Professor Tommy J Curry

The philosophical debates during the Enlightenment concerning the origin and purpose of racial difference provided the rationale for formalizing the study of racial groups in the United Kingdom in the early 1800s. Influenced by the burgeoning field of physiognomy, white thinkers throughout Scotland and England embraced the idea that skin color was evidence of deeper physiological and evolutionary traits in the body. This lecture will show how the ideas of Dugald Stewart and David Hume provided the basis of the ethnological sciences.

Lecturer Details

Tommy J. Curry is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests are 19th century ethnology, Critical Race Theory & Black Male Studies. He is the author of The Man-Not: Race, Class, Genre, and the Dilemmas of Black Manhood (2017), which won the 2018 American Book Award, as well as the author of Another white Man’s Burden: Josiah Royce’s Quest for a Philosophy of Racial Empire (2018), which won the 2020 Josiah Royce Prize in American Idealist Thought.

January 2024 Lecture Registration



House Rules

The Society has a zero-tolerance policy on harassment and bullying.

All attendees are requested to act with respect to one another during this hybrid event.

Anyone making comments which we believe to be inappropriate (e.g. offensive or abusive) will be removed from the event immediately. Equivalent procedures (e.g. with regard to spam) will apply online.



The main entrance to the church is up four steps with a handrail.

Step free access is available via a door to the right of the building – please ring the bell for attention. Please note there is a tight turn in this passageway.

A standard accessible toilet is available on the ground floor and lower level (accessible via lift).

The venue (AUC sanctuary) has a hearing loop included.

Assistance dogs are allowed inside the venue.

If attending via Zoom, captions are included.

You can find further information on Accessibility here.

Cover image: Headshot photo © Professor Tommy J Curry



January 11
6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Event Category:


Augustine United Church
41 George IV Bridge,
Edinburgh, EH1 1EL United Kingdom

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