Race and the Enlightenment: A Reader / Edition 1

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"... this fellow was quite black from head to foot, a clear proof that what he said was stupid" Immanuel Kant Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze collects into one convenient and controversial volume the most important and influential writings on race that the European Enlightenment produced. In Enlightenment thought reason and civilization became associated with "white" people and northern Europe, while unreason and savagery were conveniently located among "blacks" and non-whites outside Europe, in, for example, the "Dark Continent" of Africa.

The writers and thinkers represented here are: Linne, Buffon, Hume, Beattie, Kant, Herder, Blumenbach, Jefferson, Cuvier, and Hegel. In addition there are entries on the Negro from Diderot's Encyclopedie and the Encyclopaedia Britannica. All texts are situated within their historical, social, and intellectual contexts. A comprehensive introduction, presuming no prior familiarity with the texts concerned, serves as a guide to the student and general reader.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"By unveiling these voices and creating a greater depth ofhistorical context for academic audiences they could expand andcomplicate modern discussions of racism and its origins.  Andindeed, these multilingual (yet translated) sources bring a fullerperspective to the dialogue." (H-Net, September 2010)

"This Reader reframes and expands the discussion of racefrom an emotional and ideological context to an intellectual andhistorical one. Moreover, it introduces students to some of themost influential and eloquent philosophers of the period. I thinkit would be essential to any course on race and useful in anycourse on the Enlightenment. It is certainly a welcome addition tothe available texts." Marilyn Gaull, Temple University/New YorkUniversity

"It brings together many passages from books only available inresearch libraries. It will therefore prove to be a usefulanthology for teachers and students, providing an excellentstarting point for much-needed historical and criticalstudy."Peter Hulme, Research in African Literatures

"In compiling this useful anthology, Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze'sstarting point was the realization that writing about race formedan important but neglected aspect of Enlightenment thought." "Ezemodestly concludes by saying that the collection will succeed if itprovokes teachers, researchers, and students into furtherinvestigation of the place of race in Enlightenment thought. Onthat basis, it should be judged a likely success. It bringstogether many passages from books only available in researchlibraries. It will therefore prove to be a useful anthology forteachers and students, providing an excellent starting point formuch-needed historical and critical study." Research in AfricanLiteratures

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780631201373
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/28/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 176
  • Sales rank: 1,078,643
  • Product dimensions: 6.05 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Emmanuel Chukwudi Eze teaches in the Department of Philosophy at Bucknell University and is Research Associate at the African Studies Centre, Cambridge University, 1996-8. He is the editor of Blackwell's forthcoming African Philosophy: An Anthology and African Philosophy: A Critical Reader.

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Table of Contents



1. Carl von Linne: "Hommo" in the System of Nature.

2. Georges-Louis Leclerc Buffon: Biological and GeographicalDistribution of Mankind.

3. David Hume: Negroes... naturally inferior to thewhites. James Beattie: Response to David Hume.

4. Immanuel Kant: On the Different Races of Man. ImmanuelKant: Of National Characteristics. Immanuel Kant:Physical Geography.

5. The Kant-Herder Controversy. Kant: Review of Herder'sIdeas on the Philosophy of the History of Mankind. JohannGottfried Herder: Organization of the People of Africa.

6. Johann Friedrich Blumenbach: The Degeneration ofRaces.

7. Entries on: 'Negre' in the Encyclopedia, and 'Negro' in theEncyclopedia Britannica.

8. Thomas Jefferson: The difference is fixed innature.

9. Georges Leopold Cuvier, Varieties of the HumanSpecies.

10. Georg Wilhelm Hegel, Africa is enveloped in the DarkMantle of Night. Georg Wilhelm Hegel, OnColonialism.


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