The (obviously) acronym'd after-the-fact Project. How to Open an Academic Essay (H.O.A.E.) continues today with a strange entry from the Journal of Historical Sociology. "Social Darwinism in Anglophone Academic Journals" by Geoffrey M. Hodgson begins with a description of Diego Rivera's massive 1934 fresco "Man at the Crossroads."* Rivera arrayed his symbols of liberation on the "colorful right of the picture," but
To the darker left of the mural ar sinister battalions of marching gas-masked soldiers, the ancient statue of a fearsome god, and the seated figure of a bearded Charles Darwin.
BAM! Hodgson nailed that opening. Gas masked soliders, fearsome gods, and a feeble old Darwin, leaning forward, undeserving martyr to Communist mythology. The article continues with a brief outline of the history of the term "Social Darwinism," followed by this:
This essay takes advantage of JSTOR an electronic database of leading academic journals in anthropology, economics, general science, history, literature, philosophy, political science, population studies, sociology and other subjects, which has become available in the 1990s. These journals are almost entirely in English and several date back to the time of Darwin. A search was made for the terms "Social Darwinism," "Social Darwinist" or "Social Darwinists" in articles or reviews.
I must admit, I'm overjoyed that someone (who works, according to footnote 4, with "R. Bannister") has done my research for me. While it's beyond wonderful to have an organized, essentially annotated list of all the references to social darwinism in the JSTOR database, the thing about it is: I already had one. Because I had made one. So too, I suppose, had every scholar working on social darwinism since it became widely available in 1995. The pressing question for a certain unpublished academic I know is "How did someone else publish my background research as a scholarly article?" Equally pressing is its corollary, "Why didn't my advisors recommend I submit my background research to an academic journal?"
*Hodgson probably meant "Man, Controller of the Universe," since the almost identical "Man at the Crossroads" had been destroyed in 1933.