Author: Somnath Zutshi
Publisher: Seagull Books
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8170462746
How many of us, as children, felt that it was entirely right that Tarzan should be the unquestioned leader of hordes of natives? Or, that Flash Gordon should vanquish Ming the Merciless, who was the very quintessence of the Evil oriental, even if he was from another planet?
What is interesting about race as a concept is that it seems to be – and is used as – one of the most precise of categories. However, a few moments careful scrutiny reveals race to be precisely the opposite, loosely used to indicate ethnic origin, class, religion, nationality, even caste. Standing at the intersection of science and politics, race might be described as both politics disguised as biology, as well as a biological investigation which in most cases has a political goal. It is this simultaneity of reference which gives race its slippery quality.
This investigation ranges over crucial concepts and practices such as racism, slavery and the slave trade, anthropology, intelligence testing and I. Q, anti-semitism, fascism and the Nazis, colonialism, and the nation-state, to unpack and hold up to rational scrutiny one of the most problematic but unquestioned terms in current usage today.