Book Announcement: Race and Racism in Modern East Asia

Race and RacismRotem Kowner and Walter Demel (eds.),  Race and Racism in Modern East Asia: Western and Eastern Constructions.

Leiden: Brill, 2012.

• xxiv, 594 pages


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.


Google Books



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 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
Yukiko Koshiro

21. Categorical Confusion: President Obama as a Case Study of Racialized Practices in Contemporary Japan
Christine R. Yano



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.

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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