Michael Keevak

Becoming Yellow

A Short History of Racial Thinking

Princeton University Press 2011

New Books in East Asian StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Intellectual HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network July 12, 2011 Carla Nappi

In the course of his concise and clearly written new book Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking (Princeton University Press, 2011), Michael...

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.

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