Word History: Diversity and Science Fiction

Used the ngram viewer to look up diversity (for my Popular Culture paper and my LonCon 3 –hopefully–paper). Fascinating change in the usage of the word. It was primarily used in biology (but not about humanity alone). Then it began to be used in management/business texts. Fascinating.

This may be very useful. I wonder if ngram viewer can be more specific…. I will have to learn about it.

In 2003 there was a book published called Diversity: The Invention of a Concept. Unfortunately, the book is not in any of the libraries to which I have access.

Chicano… began coming up in 1960s, mostly, but 1915 saw the publication of the first volume of Chicano Literary Prize.

Latino is the most consistently used across the last 200 years. Hispanic appeared in 1900 and was more popular than Chicano till 1961 and again starting in 1982.

1985 is the earliest usage of Native American I see.
Red skin is mostly used to discuss botanical topics.
Native American was used in the 1810s, but still doesn’t have a high level of usage. I wish there were a way to discriminate between those who are speaking of someone else and someone speaking of themselves.

Wetback was far more prevalent than I expected. Mexican-American was almost non-existent.

Black is by far the most common word in the choices, but does not only relate to skin color. That would be important to be able to limit. Anything black– noir movies, black widow spiders, the color–raises black.

African-American is so low on the graph that it is not even listed. I am guessing that is the equivalent of 0%.

Negro does not show up much when black included in the list, but if it is removed, the usage of negro and African-American are more likely to come up.

There is a rise in the use of the word nigger in publication (comparing with negro), but most of the usages appear to be by persons of color.

1850s and 1860s saw the widest usage of persons of color. Persons of color rose in 1965-1975, and from 1990 on.

Negro had the highest usage in 1969, but appears to be slightly rising in the last decade of the 20th century.

Looking at an ngram of science fiction, it appears that “science fiction” wasn’t used before 1950, but looking at the books, 1931 has two science fiction novels published, called that, and 1957 has the sixteenth annual collection of the “year’s best science fiction.”

Astounding Science Fiction, the magazine, was being published 1939-1960.
Analog Science Fiction and Fact, also a magazine, has been published since 1930.
Astounding Stories was the common name of the first few decades of a science fiction magazine. Project Gutenberg has the early volumes (1930-mid-1931).

Speculative fiction began coming up in 1968, according to the Google Books, but it is also mentioned in 1934 in Proud Man by Katharine Burdekin.

This is going to be very interesting… I could learn a lot, potentially.

I looked at fantasy. It has a much wider usage than science fiction and in the late 1620s hit a high not seen again for 300 years. The books in the 1620s mostly were referring to Shakespeare’s works, as far as I can tell.

Speculative fiction was mostly flat, but had a bump in the 1810s (which I can’t see when I go to the literature) but rose steeply in popularity beginning in 1966 until 1980, when it began dropping off. That drop off turned around in 1993 and since 1995 has been going up again.

sci fi apparently appeared in 1963 and has ridden steadily since then.

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