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The Rise and Fall of the Caucasian Race: A Political History of Racial Identity

3.13  ·  Rating details ·  16 ratings  ·  3 reviews
The term "Caucasian" is a curious invention of the modern age. Originating in 1795, the word identifies both the peoples of the Caucasus Mountains region as well as those thought to be "Caucasian." Bruce Baum explores the history of the term and the category of the "Caucasian race" more broadly in the light of the changing politics of racial theory and notions of racial id ...more
Paperback, 342 pages
Published July 1st 2008 by New York University Press (first published February 27th 2006)
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Anthony Matijas
Jan 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Probably the most comprehensive survey on the history of race theory that I've read so far. A bit dry sometimes as he recounts the pseudo-scientific debates of ages past, or describes the various taxonomies of skull-measuring Europeans determined to create a classification system for human beings that would place themselves at the top of the heap. But that's not a criticism of the book, it's exactly what it's good for; this book is probably the best starting point for deeper dives into the subje ...more
Sami Eerola
Jan 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Easy to read study on how racial categories where arbitrary invented and how it needed a holocaust to be rethinked with more rigid scientific standards

For my disappointment the Bell curve controversy is not addressed here, but this book is focused on mainstream science and not some conservative think thank propaganda, so i should not have expected it.

For me there was nothing new, but a more digestible account why race is a social construct, but still a construct that affects people. The most in
...more
Mephistia
I tried to read this book, I really did. The histories and politics of identity (racial, gender, sexual, etc), and civil rights are a topic of intense interest to me, and I've read plenty of other related texts (academic, historical, pop-historical, sociological, autobiographical, and biographical) without issue.
Unfortunately, this particular book was a snooze-fest. Literally. Every time I read more than 3/4 of a page, I'd fall asleep-- pretty reliably, regardless of time of day. My husband sta
...more
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