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Creatures of Cain$
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Erika Lorraine Milam

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780691181882

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691181882.001.0001

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Cain’s Children

Cain’s Children

(p.89) 4 Cain’s Children
Creatures of Cain

Erika Lorraine Milam

Princeton University Press

This chapter traces the popularization of the “killer ape” theory through the work of Robert Ardrey. It shows how Ardrey did not confine his use of “mankind” to Homo sapiens or to men. Preferring to recognize the long evolutionary lineage resulting in modern humans, he used “man” to include all of our hominid ancestors, from the moment our evolutionary lineage diverged from the lineages of other apes. Second, the chapter reveals that, throughout his writings, but especially in African Genesis, Ardrey evoked stereotypes of Africa as a timeless, wild, and primitive continent in which our ancient past had been preserved for the few Westerners (like himself) who were brave enough to confront it. In doing so, Ardrey promoted images of Africans that cultural anthropologists, civil rights leaders, and the designers of Man: A Course of Study (MACOS) were desperately trying to combat but that a reading white public eagerly consumed.

Keywords:   Robert Ardrey, killer ape theory, Africa, mankind, stereotypes, mankind

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