The invention of race in the European Middle Ages (Book, 2018) []
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The invention of race in the European Middle Ages

Author: Geraldine Heng
Publisher: New York, NY ; Cambridge, United Kingdom : Cambridge University Press, 2018. ©2018
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
In The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages, Geraldine Heng questions the common assumption that the concepts of race and racisms only began in the modern era. Examining Europe's encounters with Jews, Muslims, Africans, Native Americans, Mongols, and the Romani ('Gypsies'), from the 12th through 15th centuries, she shows how racial thinking, racial law, racial practices, and racial phenomena existed in  Read more...

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Genre/Form: Informational works
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Heng, Geraldine.
Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages.
Cambridge, United Kingdom : Cambridge University Press, [2018]
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Geraldine Heng
ISBN: 9781108422789 1108422780 9781108435093 1108435092
OCLC Number: 1002124998
Description: xiii, 493 pages : illustrations ; 26 cm
Contents: Beginnings: racial worlds, medieval worlds: why this book, and how to read a book on medieval race --
Chapter 1: Inventions/reinventions: race studies, modernity, and the Middle Ages --
Race theory and its fictions: Modernity as the time of race, and old story of Telos and origin --
Premodernists write back: Historicizing alternate pasts, Rethinking race in deep time --
Religious race, medieval race: Jews as a benchmark example --
Architectures of racial formation: Church and state, law, learning, governmentality, Thirteenth to Fifteenth centuries --
Cartographic race: The freakish, deformed, and disabled, or a racial map of the world in the Middle Ages --
Politics of the neighbor: Race, conquest, and colonization within Europe --
Politics of the epidermis: Color differences in the Medieval sensorium of race --
Chapter 2: State/nation: a case study of the racial state: Jews as internal minority in England --
Living figures of absolute difference: The racing of Jews, Pre-expulsion --
Economies of the racial state: Jews as figures of capital and economic modernity --
A medieval panoption: The state and the administration of race --
Church and state partners: Political theology, ideological state apparatuses, racial praxis --
Conversion as racial passing and strategic essentialism: Miscegenation, biopower, sensory race --
England's dead boys: A new race, and its home, post-expulsion --
Chapter 3: War/empire: race figures in the international contest: The Islamic "Saracen" --
Saracen fever: A world at war, and the global system of Islam, Eleventh to Fifteenth centuries --
Holy war redux: The Crusades, gens Christiana, Malicide, and blood races --
Sex, lies, and paradise: The assassins, and the fabulation of Saracen pleasures and civilizational identity, or deviance as the definition of a population --
A man for all seasons: Saladin, and how the West made new races; or slavery, sexual mixing, and slave dynasties --
Saracens, Inc: Mercantile capitalism and the racial economies of global Islam --
Chapter 4: Color: epidermal race, fantasmatic race: blackness and Africa in the racial sensorium --
Out of Africa: The good, the bad, and the piebald, or, Politics of the epidermis, Part 2 --
Black knight/white knight: Trajectories of fear and desire, or how romance figures histories of the outside/inside --
Black queen/white queen: The geo-erotics of virtue, flesh, and epidermal race --
Mixed babes and haunting presences: A lump of flesh, piebald offspring, the Giants' infants, and the return of the black knight --
The racial saint: Transporting Africa to Europe, or, Blackness and the enigma of racial sanctity --
Chapter 5: World I: a global race in the European imaginary: Native Americans in the North Atlantic --
First races of the Americas: "Skælings" in the land of abundance --
In settler colonization, two lessons on how to bilk the natives --
Women make a difference: Not war or trade, but linguistic exchange --
Native boys, foreign animals, and zoonotic disease: Race, DNA, and historical ecology --
Bodies, and the limits of technology, or how demography trumps metallurgy --
Chapter 6: World II: the Mongol Empire: global race as absolute power --
What are Mongols? Animals, diet, and the limits of the human in global imperium --
Mongol women, the Asiatic gift economy, and Mongol political alterity --
"As if we were monsters": The ethnoracial empire gazes back --
Prayers as currency: The gift-and-service economy of an empire of pragmatism --
"Heretics," a virtual race in the Thirteenth century: Racing Nestorian Christians --
Marco Polo in a world of differences: or, Mercantile capitalism as the end of race? --
Profiting from difference: Sex, race, and exchange in the global economy --
Mongol modernity, Mongol women: The transofrmation of fear and desire --
Race-as-religion returns: Christian-Saracen enmity in a world of differences --
Mandeville and fantasies of race-and-religion, China, and "India": The Prester John Legend, and the return of the Jews --
Conquering the worlds of Islam, regaining the Holy Land --
An emperor for all reasons: Prester John triumphs over the Great Khan --
Journey to the West: Rabban Sauma, a Nestorian heretic, in Latin Christendom --
Race, religion, and the return of the Jews --
Chapter 7: World III: "gypsies": a global race in diaspora, a slave race for the centuries --
From India to Europe: A people emerge, adapt, and are received --
Christians, and yet not Christian: Epidermal race, custom, and spectacle in the gaze of the West --
Surveillance, punishment, and expulsion in Western Europe: The beginning of the end --
Falling into slavery: The Romani in Southeastern Europe --
Free to embrace the ethnoracial: The Romani, and our endings and beginnings.
Responsibility: Geraldine Heng.


This book is for readers who may or may not be familiar with the Middle Ages, but are interested in race and racism, and want to know how far back in time racism begins to appear. The book does for  Read more...


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'For more than two decades scholars have been hotly debating the appropriateness of the term 'race' and its derivatives in the analysis of medieval European societies. Now, with this book, Geraldine Read more...

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