- Hardcover: 208 pages
- Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press; New edition edition (February 20, 2006)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 080783002X
- ISBN-13: 978-0807830024
- Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.5 x 0.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,729,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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How Race Is Made: Slavery, Segregation, and the Senses New edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
Smith, "an Englishman who studies Southern history," challenges notions of race as defined by sight alone, digging into Southern history to argue all five senses played roles in how race was defined and how our understanding of it has evolved. He begins with a crude (yet apt) anecdote that exemplifies his agenda of showing how "the association between the senses and emotion, between race-thinking and gut feeling, was, in many ways, a central theme of Southern history." From there, he quickly takes the readers back to the shores of 16th-century Africa, where European merchants were stunned by the presence of men "as blacke as coles." As European and African cultures became increasingly intertwined, whites from all points across the social spectrum "racialized what was in effect a class distinction," so that "lower-class whites elevated themselves" and looked down at (judging by the mid-century cartoon reproductions Smith includes) foul-smelling, ape-like miscreants. Enmeshed in these concepts are striking details such as how Europeans found Native Americans to smell sweet and compared the olfactory capabilities of Africans to dogs. Smith's research is rich and his prose accessible, making this an ideal primer on the socio-anthropological underpinnings of race.
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An ambitious and original experiment in the way the senses determined the ideology of race in southern American history over the last two centuries.--Senses & Society