Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview / Edition 4

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A sweeping work examining the evolution of “race” in the past three centuries as a cultural invention rationalizing inequality among the peoples of North America

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In this fourth edition, Drs. Audrey Smedley and Brian Smedley describe, in a scholarly but widely accessible and engaging manner, the evolution of the concept of race and the way shifting views of the meaning of race have shaped North America. The book is an essential resource for anyone interested in the past, present, and future of race and race relations in North America.”
John F. Dovidio, Yale University

Race in North America is an essential text for anyone who engages ‘race’ from the early modern period to the present. …Eminently suitable for a range of learners, from undergraduates to researchers, the book is critical to courses and writings on the ways in which race has been, and continues to be, socially constructed in the Anglo world.”
Laura A. Lewis, James Madison University

“This much anticipated new edition continues the global exploration of the roots of race and racism and reveals how structural racism maintains disparities in the modern age. Followers of the epistemology of race and racism will get a historically broader and detailed explanation of why we think about groups of people the way we do today.”
Janis Hutchinson, University of Houston

Race in North America provides an excellent historical overview of how race came to be such a powerful social construct in the United States, and its continued significance in the life outcomes of people of color today. While grounded in research, the book is written in a manner that is well-suited for the casual reader as well as students and scholars interested in the subject of race.”
Maria-Elena Diaz, The University of Oklahoma

Praise for Previous Editions:

“I am absolutely devoted to this book. Over the years my students have often commented on how much it has changed their thinking and opened their eyes.”
Robyn Rosen, professor of history, Marist College

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813345543
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 7/26/2011
  • Edition description: Fourth Edition
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 562,886
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Audrey Smedley is professor emerita of anthropology and African American studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is the author of several books as well as the American Anthropology Association’s position paper on race.

Brian D. Smedley holds a Ph.D. in psychology from UCLA. He is vice president and director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Fourth Edition ix

Introduction 1

1 Some Theoretical Considerations 11

Race as a Modern Idea 13

Ideas, Ideologies, and Worldviews 15

The Social Reality of Race in America 17

On the Relationship Between Biology and Race 20

The Primordialists' Argument 21

Race as a Worldview: A Theoretical Perspective 24

Race and Ethnicity: Biology and Culture 27

Notes 33

2 The Etymology of the Term Race in the English Language 35

Notes 39

3 Antecedents of the Racial Worldview 41

The Age of European Exploration 41

The Rise of Capitalism and the Transformation of English Society 45

Social Organization and Values of Early Capitalism 50

English Ethnocentrism and the Idea of the Savage 52

English Nationalism and Social Values in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries 62

Hereditary Social Identity: The Lesson of Catholic Spain 65

Notes 70

4 The Growth of the English Ideology About Human Differences in America 73

Earliest Contacts 73

The Ensuing Conflicts 78

The Backing of God and Other Justifications for Conquest 81

The New Savages 85

Notes 90

5 The Arrival of Africans and Descent into Slavery 93

The First Africans 96

The Descent into Permanent Slavery 98

Was There Race Before Slavery? 102

Why the Preference for Africans? 105

The Problem of Labor 106

A Focus on Physical Differences and the Invention of Social Meanings 113

Notes 118

6 Comparing Slave Systems: The Significance of "Racial" Servitude 121

The Background Literature and the Issues of Slavery 122

The Nature of Slavery 126

A Brief History of Old World Slavery 127

Colonial Slavery Under the Spanish and Portuguese 139

Uniqueness of the English Experience of Slavery 145

The Significance of Slavery in the Creation of Race Ideology 149

Notes 153

7 Eighteenth-Century Thought and the Crystallization of the Ideology of Race 159

Social Values of the American Colonists 160

Nature's Hierarchy 164

Dominant Themes in North American Racial Beliefs 171

Anglo-Saxonism: The Making of a Biological Myth 173

And the American Dilemma Thomas Jefferson 177

Notes 186

8 Antislavery and the Entrenchment of a Racial Worldview 189

A Brief History of Antislavery Thought 190

The Proslavery Response 200

The Sociocultural Realities of Race and Slavery 203

The Priority of Race over Class 208

Notes 211

9 The Rise of Science and Scientific Racism 213

Early Classifications of Humankind 217

The Impact of Eighteenth-Century Classifications 222

Notes 225

10 Growth of the Racial Worldview in Nineteenth-Century America 227

Polygeny vs. Monogeny: The Debate over Race and Species 229

The Unnatural Mixture 237

Scientific Race Ideology in the Judicial System 239

White Supremacy 243

Immigrants and the Extension of the Race Hierarchy 245

Notes 248

11 Science and the Expansion of Race Ideology Beyond the United States 251

The Continuing Power of Polygenist Thinking 252

European Contributions to the Ideology of Race 253

Herbert Spencer and the Rise of Social Darwinism 256

The Measurement of Human Differences: Anthropometry 259

Typological Models of Races 261

The Measurement of Human Differences: Psychometrics 262

Extension of Race Ideology Overseas 265

Notes 267

12 Twentieth-Century Developments in Race Ideology 269

Social Realities of the Racial Worldview 269

Psychometrics: The Measuring of Human Worth by IQ 274

The Eugenics Movement 280

The Racial World of the Nazis 282

The Continuing Influence of Racial Ideology in Science 285

Notes 288

13 Changing Perspectives on Human Variation in Science 289

The Decline of the Idea of Race as Biology in Science 290

Physical Anthropology and Attempts to Transform the Meaning of Race 292

Population Genetics 296

Is There a Genetic Basis for Race? 299

The Ecological Perspective: Human Variations as Products of Adaptation 301

The Genetic Conception of Human Variation 303

Monogeny Reconsidered: The Nonproblem of Race Mixture 304

Notes 305

14 Dismantling the Folk Idea of Race: Transformations of an Ideology 307

The Meaning and Legacy of Race as Identity 309

The Quest for a Mixed-Race Census Category 316

Barack Obama and the Meaning of Race 318

The Future of the Racial Worldview 319

The Persistence of Racial Thinking 323

Notes 328

15 The Health and Other Consequences of the Racial Worldview 331

The Extent of Racial Health Disparities in the United States 331

The Causes of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities in the United States 334

Conclusion 348

Notes 348

References 351

Index 371

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