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Borderlines #27: Toward a Global Idea of Raceby Denise Ferreira Da Silva
Synopses & Reviews
In this far-ranging and penetrating work, Denise Ferreira da Silva asks why, after more than five hundred years of violence perpetrated by Europeans against people of color, is there no ethical outrage?
Rejecting the prevailing view that social categories of difference such as race and culture operate solely as principles of exclusion, Silva presents a critique of modern thought that shows how racial knowledge and power produce global space. Looking at the United States and Brazil, she argues that modern subjects are formed in philosophical accounts that presume two ontological moments—historicity and globality—which are refigured in the concepts of the nation and the racial, respectively. By displacing historicity’s ontological prerogative, Silva proposes that the notion of racial difference governs the present global power configuration because it institutes moral regions not covered by the leading post-Enlightenment ethical ideals—namely, universality and self-determination.
By introducing a view of the racial as the signifier of globality,Toward a Global Idea of Race provides a new basis for the investigation of past and present modern social processes and contexts of subjection.
Denise Ferreira da Silva is associate professor of ethnic studies at University of California, San Diego.
Book News Annotation:
For da Silva (sociology and American studies, U. of Southern California), racial subjection grows out of the post-Enlightenment ontological creation of the subject, especially as that subject is historically rooted in the concept of the nation. The European scientific ontological construction of the subject as self-determining and having access to universal reason can only sustain itself in reference to Others existing around the globe without such qualities. She examines the particularities of this process in the nation-building projects of United States and Brazil, in which particular articulations of the national subject produce particular logics of racial subjection. Annotation ©2007 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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