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Becoming Yellow – A Short History of Racial Thinking - Princeton Scholarship Online
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Becoming Yellow: A Short History of Racial Thinking

Michael Keevak


In their earliest encounters with Asia, Europeans almost uniformly characterized the people of China and Japan as white. This was a means of describing their wealth and sophistication, their willingness to trade with the West, and their presumed capacity to become Christianized. But by the end of the seventeenth century the category of whiteness was reserved for Europeans only. When and how did Asians become “yellow” in the Western imagination? Looking at the history of racial thinking, this book explores the notion of yellowness and shows that this label originated in the eighteenth- and nine ... More

Keywords: yellowness, China, Japan, whiteness, East Asians, Mongolian race, skin color, racial thinking, Carl Linnaeus, race

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2011 Print ISBN-13: 9780691140315
Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017 DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691140315.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Michael Keevak, author
National Taiwan University