Title: Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial ...
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Book Condition: New
2011. Hardcover. Explores the notion of yellowness and shows that this label originated not in early travel texts or objective descriptions, but in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientific discourses on race. This title weaves together multiple narratives to tell the complex history of a problematic term. Num Pages: 240 pages, 7 color illus. 16 halftones. BIC Classification: HBTB; JFC; JFSL; PDX. Category: (P) Professional & Vocational; (U) Tertiary Education (US: College). Dimension: 235 x 163 x 19. Weight in Grams: 516. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780691140315
In their earliest encounters with Asia, Europeans almost uniformly characterized the people of China and Japan as white. This was a means of describing their wealth and sophistication, their willingness to trade with the West, and their presumed capacity to become Christianized. But by the end of the seventeenth century the category of whiteness was reserved for Europeans only. When and how did Asians become "yellow" in the Western imagination? Looking at the history of racial thinking, Becoming Yellow explores the notion of yellowness and shows that this label originated not in early travel texts or objective descriptions, but in the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century scientific discourses on race.
From the walls of an ancient Egyptian tomb, which depicted people of varying skin tones including yellow, to the phrase "yellow peril" at the beginning of the twentieth century in Europe and America, Michael Keevak follows the development of perceptions about race and human difference. He indicates that the conceptual relationship between East Asians and yellow skin did not begin in Chinese culture or Western readings of East Asian cultural symbols, but in anthropological and medical records that described variations in skin color. Eighteenth-century taxonomers such as Carl Linnaeus, as well as Victorian scientists and early anthropologists, assigned colors to all racial groups, and once East Asians were lumped with members of the Mongolian race, they began to be considered yellow.
Demonstrating how a racial distinction took root in Europe and traveled internationally, Becoming Yellow weaves together multiple narratives to tell the complex history of a problematic term.
From the Inside Flap:
"All racial categories are constructed, but none so laboriously as the 'yellow' of East Asians. This learned and stimulating book ranges across a half-dozen centuries of writing to tell the story of East Asians' transformation from 'white' to 'yellow' (and many hues in between) and their homogenization as members of a 'Mongolian' race. Drawing on travelogues, medical texts, and works of geography, anthropology, and natural history, Keevak unveils the complex and surprising history of an idea that remains deeply ingrained in our image of Asia and Asians today. Becoming Yellow is a marvelous contribution to the history of racialist thinking."--David L. Howell, Harvard University
"Becoming Yellow is an absorbing tale of how science was manipulated in quest of assigning a less-than-becoming shade to Asian peoples. Poring over several centuries of European accounts, Michael Keevak documents how the jaundiced views of the literati were by no means evenly applied and how scientific justifications of racial theory were colored more by contingent events than physical truths."--Michael Laffan, Princeton University
"This book will make an indelible and enlightening mark in the fields of post-colonial, race, and cultural studies, and will attract an uncommonly diverse audience. It has a rightful place as part of the literary and historical scholarship that comprises the greater contemporary postcolonial project."--Don J. Wyatt, Middlebury College
"Well-organized and engaging, this very interesting and singular work is a solid contribution to various fields and innovative in both its focus and approach. I cannot think of any other book that addresses the same subject that this one does."--Larissa Heinrich, University of California, San Diego
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