Skip to main content
Shopping cart: items Cart

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


Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Parable of Brownness
An Advertisement for White Coats
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
Sources for Interchapters

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press