A term with a variety of charged meanings, race arose in English in the sixteenth century from the French race and the Italian razza and has been employed as a means of grouping individuals by ethnic, social, or national background. While the term has been applied generally to a range of collective identities, at present the term race invokes a categorization attached to imagined physical similarities or to a group’s own sense of collective ideals and history. Race as a term points both backward toward injurious histories of eugenics and physiognomic pseudoscience (Rivers 1994; Gombrich 1970) and forward toward the term’s reclamation and revision within liberationist social movements, like the US civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s and postcolonial movements in the Caribbean and Africa.

This essay may be found on page 164 of the printed volume.

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