Race: The History of an Idea in the West

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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 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 and the West. It is an idea were 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 health in the ancient ...
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Overview

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 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 and the West. It is an idea were 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 health in the ancient world, contrasting them with the complex social, philosophy, political, and scientific ideas actually held at the time. Through the medieval, Renaissance, and early modern periods, he critically examines precursors and 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 modern ideas of race and the protoscences of late medieval cabalism and hermeticism. Following that trail forward, he describes the establishment of 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 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.
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Editorial Reviews

New Statesman

A remarkable achievement, and one of the most important books ever published on this subject.

Times Educational Supplement

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.

International Journal of the Classical Tradition - David M. Goldenberg

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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801852220
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/1995
  • Series: Woodrow Wilson Center Press Ser.
  • Pages: 464
  • Product dimensions: 6.87 (w) x 10.07 (h) x 1.47 (d)

Meet the Author

Ivan Hannaford was assistant director for academic affairs at Kingston University in England until his retirement in 1991. He has been a visiting fellow of Wolfson College, Cambridge, and a Guest Scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. Bernard Crick is professor emeritus of politics, University of London.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Foreword
Publisher's Note
1 In the Beginning 3
2 The Ancient World 17
3 Transitions from Greece to Rome 61
4 Jews, Christianism, Moors, and Barbarians 87
5 Monsters and the Occult 127
6 New Methods, New Worlds, and the Search for Origins 147
7 The First Stage and the Development of an Idea of Race, 1684-1815 187
8 The Search for Historical and Biological Origins, 1815-1870 235
9 The Rise of the Race-State and the Invention of Antisemitism, 1870-1900 277
10 Race is All, 1890-1939 325
11 Reactions, Retractors, and New Orthodoxies, 1920 to the Present 369
Notes 403
Index 419
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