Norwegian Physical Anthropology and the Idea of a Nordic Master Race
Anthropologists used to consider Norway a homeland for the so-called Nordic—or Germanic—race, which many Europeans and Americans held to be a superior race. This paper deals with the rise and decline of the idea of a Nordic master race in Norwegian physical anthropology. In the 1890s this idea held a key position in anthropological research on the racial identity and origin of the Norwegian population. In the early 1930s, however, leading Norwegian anthropological authorities condemned it as pseudoscientific ideology. I show how Norwegian discussions over this issue were related to greater conflicts within the international eugenics movement, to changing relations between German and Norwegian racial anthropologists before and after the Nazi takeover in Germany, and to conflicting and changing ideas of Norwegian nationhood among Norwegian scholars.