Race and History: Comments from an Epistemological Point of View
Science Technology and Human Values
The historiography of race is usually framed by two discontinuities: the invention of race by European naturalists and anthropologists, marked by Carl Linnaeus’s (1735) Systema naturae and the demise of racial typologies after World War II (WWII) in favor of population-based studies of human diversity. This framing serves a similar function as the quotation marks that almost invariably surround the term. “Race” is placed outside of rational discourse as a residue of outdated essentialist and hierarchical thinking. I will throw doubt on this underlying assumption, not in order to re-legitimate race but in order to understand better why race has been, and continues to be, such a politically powerful and explosive concept.
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Vol. 39, Issue 4, pp. 597 - 606