I am a historian interested in two broad areas: the history of race and racism, and the history of atheism and secularism. These two interests have come together in my forthcoming book, Race in a Godless World: Atheism, Race, and Civilization in Britain and the United States, 1850-1914.
My current project is tentatively titled, “The Meanings of ‘Racism’: A History of the Concept,” and examines the history of the term and concept, “racism,” as well as earlier and related terms like “race prejudice” and “colorphobia.” Since so much of our contemporary debate about race turns on the meaning of “racism,” an analysis of the history of this concept is especially pressing. The project hopes to understand the historical meanings of “racism” and related terms, particularly to disentangle whether “racism” is best defined as being about individual beliefs and actions, or about social structures and institutions. I will also examine how these terms have been deployed in debate and how (or if) they played a role in shaping social change.
Max-Weber-Kolleg für kultur- und sozialwissenschaftliche Studien Universität Erfurt Postfach 90 02 21 99105 Erfurt