Race and Racism in Modern East Asia

Western and Eastern Constructions


Volume Editors: and
Race and Racism in Modern East Asia juxtaposes Western racial constructions of East Asians with constructions of race and their outcomes in modern East Asia. It is the first endeavor to explicitly and coherently link constructions of race and racism in both regions. These constructions have not only played a decisive role in shaping the relations between the West and East Asia since the mid nineteenth century, but also exert substantial influence on current relations and mutual images in both the East-West nexus and East Asia. Written by some of the field's leading authorities, this groundbreaking 21-chapter volume offers an analysis of these constructions, their evolution and their interrelations.

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Rotem Kowner , Professor of Japanese history and culture at the University of Haifa, Israel. His research has focused on the social and racial nexus between Japan and the West since the sixteenth century as well as on wartime behavior and attitudes in modern Japan.

Walter Demel , Professor of early modern history at the University of the Armed Forces Munich, Germany. He has mainly published on the Bavarian and German politics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, on the history of the European nobility, and on the relations between Europe and East Asia, particularly the perceptions of China and Japan.
"In der historischen Forschung zum Thema Rassismus spielte Ostasien bisher kaum eine Rolle. Der vorliegende Band, Ergebnis eines mehrjährigen, von der German- Israeli-Foundation geförderten Projektes, schließt diese Forschungslücke … Insgesamt ist der Band ausgezeichnet ediert und gut lesbar und wird zweifellos bis auf Weiteres das Standard- werk zum Thema Rasse in Ostasien bleiben. Wer an der historischen Entwicklung des Rassebegriffs interessiert ist und einen Blick über den europäischen Rahmen hinaus werfen möchte, dem sei dieser Band wärmstens empfohlen." ["Within the historical research on the topic of racism, East Asia has barely played any role. This volume, the outcome of a multi-year project closes this research lacuna … Overall, the volume is superbly edited and easy to read and will undoubtedly remain, until further notice, the standard work on the subject of race in East Asia. For those interested in the historical development of the concept of race and wish to go beyond the European framework, this volume is highly recommended."] – Prof. Sven Saaler, in: Historische Zeitschrift 299 (2014), pp. 140-141
"...its real strong point is its variety, with papers probing such interesting and understudied topics as the East in Russian modernism, Korea in
European travel writing, utopian multiracial notions in nineteenth-century China, and the complexities of race in the Japanese colonial empire before WWII ... the essays themselves are uniformly excellent and tend to provide information not otherwise accessible to Anglophone readers. The scholarly summaries are very accomplished and provide a wealth of material for understanding that race is neither a fixed nor an atemporal construct, nor is it one that can be simply transferred from Western contexts onto Eastern ones." – Michael Keevak, in: Asian Ethnicity 15/4 (2014), pp. 584-585 [DOI: 10.1080/14631369.2014.939338]

List of Illustrations and Tables

1. Modern East Asia and the Rise of Racial Thought: Possible Links, Unique Features, and Unsettled Issues
Rotem Kowner and Walter Demel

2. Early Modern European Divisions of Mankind and East Asians, 1500-1750 50
Walter Demel and Rotem Kowner
3. How the “Mongoloid Race” Came into Being: Late Eighteenth-Century Constructions of East Asians in Europe
Walter Demel
4. Between Contempt and Fear: Western Racial Constructions of East Asians since 1800
Rotem Kowner
5. “A Very Great Gulf”: Late Victorian British Diplomacy and Race in East Asia
T.G. Otte
6. Pan-Mongolians at Twilight: East Asia and Race in Russian Modernism, 1890-1921
Susanna Soojung Lim
7. National Identity and Race in Post-Revolutionary Russia: Pil’niak’s Travelogues from Japan and China
Alexander Bukh
8. Class, Race, Floating Signifier: American Media Imagine the Chinese, 1870-1900
Lenore Metrick-Chen
9. Racism for Beginners: Constructions of Chinese in Twentieth Century Belgian Comics
Idesbald Goddeeris
10. Race, Imperialism, and Reconstructing Selves: Late Nineteenth Century Korea in European Travel Literature
Huajeong Seok
11. Race, Culture and the Reaction to the Japanese Victory of 1905 in the English-Speaking World
Philip Towle

12. A Certain Whiteness of Being: Chinese Perceptions of Self by the Beginning of European Contact
Don J. Wyatt
13. Racial Discourse and Utopian Visions in Nineteenth Century China
Sufen Sophia Lai
14. The Discourse of Race in Twentieth-Century China
Frank Dikötter
15. Racist South Korea? Diverse but not Tolerant of Diversity
Gi-Wook Shin
16. Skin Color Melancholy in Modern Japan: Male Elites' Racial Experiences Abroad, 1880s-1950s
Ayu Majima
17. Anatomically Speaking: The Kubo Incident and the Paradox of Race in Colonial Korea
Hoi-eun Kim
18. Who Classified Whom, and for What Purpose? The “Japanese” in Northeast China in the Age of Empire
Mariko Asano Tamanoi
19. Race and International Law in Japan’s New Order in East Asia, 1938-1945
Urs Matthias Zachmann
20. East Asia’s “Melting-Pot”: Reevaluating Race Relations in Japan’s Colonial Empire 583
Yukiko Koshiro
21. Categorical Confusion: President Obama as a Case Study of Racialized Practices in Contemporary Japan
Christine R. Yano


Specialists, graduate students, undergraduate students, educated laymen, academic libraries, public libraries, institutes interested in modern East Asia and questions of race and racism.
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