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Race : The History of an Idea in the West - Ivan Hannaford


The History of an Idea in the West

Paperback Published: 1st November 1995
ISBN: 9780801852237
Number Of Pages: 464
For Ages: 22+ years old

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In Race: The History of an Idea in the West Ivan Hannaford guides readers through a dangerous engagement with an idea that so permeates Western thinking that we expect to find it, active or dormant, as an organizing principle in all societies. But, Hannaford shows, race is not a universal idea -- not even in the West. It is an idea with a definite pedigree, and Hannaford traces that confused pedigree from Hesiod to the Holocaust and beyond.

Hannaford begins by examining the ideas of race supposedly held in the ancient world, contrasting them with the complex social, philosophical, political, and scientific ideas actually held at the time. Through the medieval, Renaissance, and early modern periods he critically examines precursors in history, science, and philosophy. Hannaford distinguishes those cultures' ideas of social inclusion, rank, and role from modern ones based on race. But he also finds the first traces of the modern ideas of race in the proto-sciences of late medieval cabalism and hermeticism. Following that trail forward, he describes the establishment of the modern scientific and philosophical notions of race in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and shows how those notions became popular and pervasive, even among those who claim to be nonracist.

At the same time, Hannaford sets out an alternative to a race-based notion of humanity. In his examination of ancient Greece, he finds in what was then a dazzling new idea, politics, a theory of how to bring a purposeful oneness to a society composed of diverse families, tribes, and interests. This idea of politics has a history, too, and its presence has waxed and waned through the ages.

At a time when new controversies have again raised the question of whether race and social destiny are ineluctably joined as partners, Race: The History of an Idea in the West reveals that one of the partners is a phantom -- medieval astrology and physiognomy disguised by pseudoscientific thought. And Race raises a difficult practical question: What price do we place on our political traditions, institutions, and civic arrangements? This ambitious volume reexamines old questions in new ways that will stimulate a wide readership.

Industry Reviews

A remarkable achievement, and one of the most important books ever published on this subject. * New Statesman * In a sweeping and ambitious survey of the concept of race from the ancient world to the 20th century, Ivan Hannaford argues that the modern notion of the term is misconstrued. * Times Educational Supplement * This book, the life's work of its late author, Ivan Hannaford, sets out to trace the development of the concept of race-how and when it evolved-as we understand it today in western civilization... The work is enormously learned, quoting liberally from authors spanning 2,500 years and packed with insightful and nuanced readings. -- David M. Goldenberg * International Journal of the Classical Tradition *

Publisher's Note
In the Beginningp. 3
The Ancient Worldp. 17
Transitions from Greece to Romep. 61
Jews, Christianism, Moors, and Barbariansp. 87
Monsters and the Occultp. 127
New Methods, New Worlds, and the Search for Originsp. 147
The First Stage and the Development of an Idea of Race, 1684-1815p. 187
The Search for Historical and Biological Origins, 1815-1870p. 235
The Rise of the Race-State and the Invention of Antisemitism, 1870-1900p. 277
Race is All, 1890-1939p. 325
Reactions, Retractors, and New Orthodoxies, 1920 to the Presentp. 369
Notesp. 403
Indexp. 419
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780801852237
ISBN-10: 0801852234
Series: Woodrow Wilson Cente
Audience: Professional
For Ages: 22+ years old
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 464
Published: 1st November 1995
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.54 x 17.09  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.74

Earn 107 Qantas Points
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