William Z. Ripley

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William Zebina Ripley (13 October 1867 - 16 August 1941) was an American economist and anthropologist. He spent most of his career as professor of political economy at Harvard University. He was famous for his criticisms of American railroad economics and American business practices in the 1920s and 1930s.

Ripley's map of the craniometric cephalic index in Europe, from The Races of Europe (1899).

Ripley may be most known for his 1889 book The Races of Europe: A Sociological Study. The book argued that Europeans can be broadly classified into three smaller races: the northern (Teutonic) and southern (Mediterranean) were argued to probably of be of older origin, but the central (Alpine) was argued to has descended from more recent migrants.

The theory influenced Madison Grant, although he preferred the term Nordic instead of Teutonic.

Ripley's theory is stated to put him at odds with others, such as Joseph Deniker, stating a different number of races. However, systems with differing number of races are not necessarily incompatible with one another, as large races may be argued to consist of several smaller races, and so on.

More generally, possible problems with old racial classifications do not prove that recent race research must be incorrect and is a form of guilt by association.

Regarding this and other race denialist arguments, see also Arguments regarding the existence of races.

See also