The Racialization of the Globe: Historical Perspectives

TitleThe Racialization of the Globe: Historical Perspectives
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsDikötter, Frank, Manfred Berg, and Simon Wendt
Book TitleRacism in the Modern World: Historical Perspectives on Cultural Transfer and Adaptation
PublisherBergahn Books
CityNew York

This essay has not tried to provide a comprehensive history of how the world was racialized, but has merely suggested that racist belief systems share a common language based on science, that they have a common political tension derived from an egalitarian philosophy, and that they can also diverge considerably according to local cognitive traditions and political agendas: the article contends that an interactive approach alone can take into account how racist belief systems were negotiated, appropriated, and transformed within historically specific contexts. An interactive approach highlights how racism has developed an intensely parasitic relationship with science—itself a historically contingent worldview premised on the systematic study of the “natural world.”... Finally, given the continued relevance of both science as a foundation for knowledge and of the notion of equality as a modern political ideology, we should not be surprised at the global dimensions acquired by racism in a relatively short span of time since the late eighteenth century. [Author]

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