Cover image for Who do we think we are? : race and nation in the modern world
Who do we think we are? : race and nation in the modern world
Nicholson, Philip Yale, 1940-
Publication Information:
Armonk, N.Y. : M.E. Sharpe, [1999]

Physical Description:
xiv, 233 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library HT1521 .N56 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



This text offers a provocative explanation of the force and place of race in modern history, showing that race and nation have a linked history. The author seeks to show the close historical connection of race and nation as each interrelates with the other in shaping and carrying social and institutional practices over many centuries.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Nicholson argues that it is only when the modern expansionist European nations emerged, c. 1500, that race consciousness and racist ideologies developed. Making a case for this claim demands a command of history few possess; such an undertaking is not for the faint of heart. In less than 200 pages of text, the reader moves from discussions of the mixing of Dravidian and Aryan cultures in ancient India to new racial fault lines in the US at the end of the 20th century, with a lot of territory covered in between. Strangely, the geographic range of the book becomes more limited as one moves closer to the present era of globalization. The author writes with verve and passion, but there is no indication of historical expertise, little sensitivity to the complexity of history, and a cavalier lack of interest in wrestling with the arguments of established scholars, particularly those who have focused on the issue of nationalism and the origin of nations. The net result is a pastiche, some of which is engaging, but the whole does not exceed the sum of its parts. P. Kivisto; Augustana College (IL)

Table of Contents

1 Introduction
2 No Nations, No Races
Pre-Modern Formations of Authority and Cultural Identity, to 1500
3 The European Discovery of Race and Nation, 1500-1650
4 The Colors of Gold
Mercantile Empires, Great Nations, Reason and Racism, 1650-1800
5 To the Ends of the Earth
Racism and Nationalism Rampant, 1800-1917
6 No Holds Barred
Race and Nation, 1918-1945
7 Cold War Watershed, 1946-1990
8 Epilogue, Dusk and Dawn, 1991-2000

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