A Very Short Introduction
3. Beyond the pale: scientific racism, the nation, and the politics of colour
When Columbus set out on his momentous journey to what he thought was Asia, the significance of the year, 1492, was not lost on him. He wrote at the head of the first journal of his travels:
The ‘Indians’ encounter Columbus
The shores on which Columbus landed, as we now know, were far from the ‘Indies’. But he was convinced that he had found what he was looking for.
One of the lessons of the history of ‘race’ is an appreciation of the extent to which European
4. Imperialism, eugenics, and the Holocaust
Ideas of race derived nourishment as much from concerns internal to Europe as from the growing encounters with non-Europeans in the period of early modernity. It should be clear from the discussion in the last chapter that the schemes of classification of human variety that mushroomed in the 18th and 19th centuries were as anxious about drawing boundaries between white European races or ‘nations’ – Gauls, Saxons, Slavs, and others – as between whites and blacks and Orientals.
Growing nationalisms and a conservative reaction against the collapsing hierarchies of the aristocratic order