Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alastair Bonnett
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This article provides a critical history of the conflation of European and white identities. It commences with an overview of pre-modern white identities in China and the Middle East. The production of a racialized European white identity is then examined. The obsessional, exclusionary character of European racial whiteness is related to the gradual marginalization of non-European white identities. Drawing primarily on late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century commentaries, it is also argued that the excessive idealization of whiteness characteristic of its modern European form engenders an unstable and contradictory identity: in societies structured upon class, ethnic and gender hierarchies the 'burden of whiteness' cannot be equally apportioned. The article concludes with some observations on the challenge historical geographical studies of white identities present to contemporary anti-racists.
Author(s): Bonnett A
Publication type: Article
Publication status: Published
Journal: Ethnic and Racial Studies
Print publication date: 01/11/1998
ISSN (print): 0141-9870
ISSN (electronic): 1466-4356
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