A Short History of Racial Thinking
Princeton University Press 2011
In the course of his concise and clearly written new book Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking (Princeton University Press, 2011), Michael Keevak investigates the emergence of a “yellow” and “Mongolian” East Asian identity in eighteenth- and nineteenth-century Europe. Becoming Yellow incorporates a wide range of sources in its exploration of the European imagination of an East Asian racial identity, including poetry, travel accounts, medical and anthropological texts, and children’s toys. Over the course of our interview, we talked about the difficulties and rewards of trying to situate the idea of a “Yellow Peril” in historical context, and the potential pitfalls along the way.