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Brown Skins, White Coats

Race Science in India, 1920–66

A unique narrative structure brings the history of race science in mid-twentieth-century India to vivid life.

Recent years have seen an explosion in studies of race science in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but the vast majority have remained focused either on Europe or North America and Australia. In this stirring history, Projit Bihari Mukharji shows that India appropriated and repurposed race science to its own ends and argues that these appropriations need to be understood within the national and regional contexts of postcolonial nation-making—not merely as footnotes to a European or Australo-American history of normal science. 

The book is constructed with seven factual chapters operating at distinct levels—the conceptual, practical, and cosmological—and eight fictive interchapters. Drawing principally on one work of fiction published in 1935 and supplemented by other fictional works written by the same author, the interchapters tease out the full implications of racial research in India with fiction. The narrative interchapters develop as a series of epistolary exchanges between the Bengali author Hemendrakumar Roy (1888–1963) and the main protagonist of his dystopian science fiction novel about race, race science, racial improvement, and dehumanization. In this way, Mukharji fills out the historical moment in which the factual narrative unfolded, vividly revealing its moral, affective, political, and intellectual fissures.

368 pages | 20 halftones | 6 x 9

Asian Studies: South Asia

History: History of Technology

History of Science

Medicine

Table of Contents

Contents
List of Illustrations
Parable of Brownness
An Advertisement for White Coats
Acknowledgments
Introduction
Interchapter: Letter 1
1: Seroanthropological Races
Interchapter: Letter 2
2: Mendelizing Religion
Interchapter: Letter 3
3: A Taste for Race
Interchapter: Letter 4
4: Medicalizing Race
Interchapter: Letter 5
5: Blood Multiple
Interchapter: Letter 6
6: Refusing Race
Interchapter: Letter 7
7: Racing the Future
Interchapter: Letter 8
Conclusion
Notes
Sources for Interchapters
Bibliography
Index

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