As the first in a series of posts related to Black History Month, we present an excerpt from Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields' Racecraft below.
We strive to think rigorously about the world of experience that Americans designate by the shorthand, race.
That very shorthand is our abiding target because it confuses three different things: race, racism, and racecraft. The term race stands for the conception or the doctrine that nature produced humankind in distinct groups, each defined by inborn traits that its members share and that differentiate them from the members of other distinct groups of the same kind but of unequal rank. For example, The Races of Europe, published in 1899 to wide acclaim and lasting influence, set out to establish scientifically the distinctness of the “Teutonic,” “Alpine,” and “Mediterranean” races. After compiling tens of thousands of published measurements (of stature, shape of head and nose, coloring of skin, hair, and eyes, and more), the author, William Z. Ripley, had more than enough quantitative evidence to work with—indeed, far too much. A “taxonomic nightmare” loomed up and forced on him a certain flexibility of method: shifting criteria as needed, ignoring unruly instances, and employing ad hoc helpers like the “Index of Nigrescence” (to handle the variable coloring of persons indigenous to the British Isles)*. Fitting actual humans to any such grid inevitably calls forth the busy repertoire of strange maneuvering that is part of what we call racecraft. The nineteenth-century bio-racists’ ultimately vain search for traits with which to demarcate human groups regularly exhibited such maneuvering.† Race is the principal unit and core concept of racism.
(from Foster's 1899 The Races of Europe)
In this edited extract from Last Futures: Nature, Technology, and the End of Architecture, Douglas Murphy examines the architectural aesthetic of megastructures — massive, disparate structures combining strict artificial forms with an organic growth of spaces within — from the famous Nakagin Capsule Tower (designed by Kisho Kurokawa), through to the work of Norman Foster, and more recent futuristic fantasy megastructure proposals.
- USA Pavilion, Expo 67
Benedict Anderson (1936-2015) was one of the most influential thinkers of the nation; he passed away on 12th December, 2015. Imagined Communities, his seminal work, was first published by Verso in 1983 and became an instant classic for its examination of the origins and development of nationalism and the creation of communities. Carlos Sardiña Galache remembers the historian, who maintained that there were “utopian elements” worth fighting for in the idea of the nation, in this obituary, originally published in El Mundo in Spanish and translated here by Annie McDermott.