Cover: Against Race: Imagining Political Culture beyond the Color Line, from Harvard University PressCover: Against Race in PAPERBACK

Against Race

Imagining Political Culture beyond the Color Line

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$21.00 • £18.95 • €19.95

ISBN 9780674006690

Publication Date: 01/15/2002

Academic Trade

416 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

1 halftone

Belknap Press

Not for sale in UK, British Commonwealth & Europe (except Canada)

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Paul Gilroy, whose Black Atlantic broke through the nation-specific context of race politics, has written a powerful, albeit minoritarian defense of the position that racial thinking—not just racism—is a key obstacle to human freedom (an aspiration, he sadly notes, that has virtually disappeared from political discourse). In his analysis of the origins and uses of racial thinking Gilroy spares from his critique neither black pride nor black separatism, let alone racism’s most virulent forms, fascism and colonialism… The result is that he has offered one of the most impressive refutations of race as an anthropological concept since the publication of Ashley Montagu’s Man’s Most Dangerous Myth: The Fallacy of Race more than fifty years ago… Gilroy’s reach is dazzling, his analysis acute and insightful, but in the end he recognizes that, lacking a political constituency for his planetary humanism, his ideas remain not a program but a utopian hope… At the end of the day, Against Race remains the brilliant jeremiad of an out-of-step intellectual whose main weapon is criticism. There are few who do it better.—Stanley Aronowitz, The Nation

Guides readers through the complex, interwoven incarnations of race-thinking from inception in the modern period through overt climax in the Colonial Era and the rise of Nazism in Europe to a lingering presence in today’s vernacular cultures and ever more globalized corporate consumer landscape… [Gilroy] clearly outlines the complex connections between ‘race’ and ‘place’ in the development of Colonial Era nation-state identities and the systematic fascism that followed… Gilroy provides useful, historically fascinating accounts of black experiences in Europe during the first half of the twentieth century… Anyone interested in the history of racial politics and, in particular, the history of fascism will benefit from…the perspectives Gilroy derives from the voices of the Atlantic diaspora. Gilroy’s examples are wide-ranging; he clearly is as comfortable discussing Nazi racial hygiene theories as he is discussing current genetic research, and is as fluent in critiquing jazz scholars as he is analyzing Snoop and other rappers.—Jody M. Roy, Rhetoric and Public Affairs

Readers used to Paul Gilroy’s incisive political and cultural analysis will be highly impressed with Against Race. Those not familiar with his previous writings will be so impressed that they are bound to look for them. Gilroy is an erudite scholar and this is an imperative reading not only for those coming to grips with political culture beyond the color line but for any serious scholar interested in ‘cosmopolitan cultures,’ or in questions of identity.—Nuruddin Farah, author of Yesterday, Tomorrow: Voices from the Somali Diaspora

As with his past work, Paul Gilroy continues to disturb settled ways of thinking in a fundamentally creative way. Here, he challenges us to explore the dangers of race-thinking, whether ‘race’ be an imposed or an insurgent identity.—Mahmood Mamdani, author of Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism

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