This introductory chapter explains the theme of this book, which is about the Indo-European or Aryan concept. This concept has certain formal properties of its own that have been more or less stable from its inception in the eighteenth century to the present. The chapter explores the racial theory of Indian civilization, the British ethnologies of India in the period of empire, and the creation of anthropology as a specialized science. It also traces the usage of the Sanskrit word arya and describes those who are considered Aryans.
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