Explores the concept of "race"
The term "race," which originally denoted genealogical or class identity, has in the comparatively brief span of 300 years taken on an entirely new meaning. In the wake of the Enlightenment it came to be applied to social groups. This ideological transformation coupled with a dogmatic insistence that the groups so designated were natural, and not socially created, gave birth to the modern notion of "races" as genetically distinct entities. The results of this view were the encoding of "race" and "racial" hierarchies in law, literature, and culture.
How "racial" categories facilitate social control
The articles in the series demonstrate that the classification of humans according to selected physical characteristics was an arbitrary decision that was not based on valid scientific method. They also examine the impact of colonialism on the propagation of the concept and note that "racial" categorization is a powerful social force that is often used to promote the interests of dominant social groups. Finally, the collection surveys how laws based on "race" have been enacted around the world to deny power to minority groups.
A multidisciplinary resource
This collection of outstanding articles brings multiple perspectives to bear on race theory and draws on a wider ranger of periodicals than even the largest library usually holds. Even if all the articles were available on campus, chances are that a student would have to track them down in several libraries and microfilm collections. Providing, of course, that no journals were reserved for graduate students, out for binding, or simply missing. This convenient set saves students substantial time and effort by making available all the key articles in one reliable source.
The series editor has put together a balanced selection of the most significant works, accompanied by expert commentary. A general introduction gives important background information and outlines fundamental issues, current scholarship, and scholarly controversies. Introductions to individual volumes put the articles in context and draw attention to germinal ideas and major shifts in the field. After reading the material, even a beginning student will have an excellent grasp of the basics of the subject.
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First published in 1997. Routledge is an imprint of Taylor & Francis, an informa company.
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