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Becoming Yellow


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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations vii Acknowledgments ix Introduction: No Longer White: The Nineteenth-Century Invention of Yellowness 1 Chapter 1: Before They Were Yellow: East Asians in Early Travel and Missionary Reports 23 Chapter 2: Taxonomies of Yellow: Linnaeus, Blumenbach, and the Making of a "Mongolian" Race in the Eighteenth Century 43 Chapter 3: Nineteenth-Century Anthropology and the Measurement of "Mongolian" Skin Color 70 Chapter 4: East Asian Bodies in Nineteenth-Century Medicine: The Mongolian Eye, the Mongolian Spot, and"Mongolism"101 Chapter 5: Yellow Peril: The Threat of a "Mongolian" Far East, 1895-1920 124 Notes 145 Works Cited 175 Index 211

About the Author

Michael Keevak is a professor in the Department of Foreign Languages at National Taiwan University. His books include "Sexual Shakespeare", "The Pretended Asian", and "The Story of a Stele".


"Illuminating ..."--Choice "Michael Keevak has given us a wonderful, even riveting, deep-historical account of how people in Asia (particularly East Asia) came to be seen as yellow... [T]he book is a welcome and important addition to the growing literature on 'race' imaginaries, such as whiteness, blackness, and more. Readers will learn a whole lot, as I did, from Keevak's historical account ... of the evolution of Western racism."--Magnus Fiskesjo, Journal of World History "Becoming Yellow is not always an easy read, but Michael Keevak skillfully presents and examines a number of important yet highly contentious issues and terminologies on racial thinking. His book is thus full of sensible quotation marks and--understandably--the author's own qualifications regarding racial designations such as the use of 'surprising'. For those interested in the western history of racial thinking, this is a convincing introduction to the origin, construction and development of a remarkably persistent European stereotype of East Asia."--Tjalling Halbertsma, Asian Studies Review "Becoming Yellow is a fascinating read, partly due to its intriguing subject matter, partly due to the author's treatment of it... Readers, ... will profit much from Keevak's analysis of literary, scientific, and medical discourses. In particular, they will learn invaluable lessons about the mechanics of racial thinking and about how little seemingly scientific 'truths' are based on biological or empirical facts."--Ralf Hertel, Anglistik

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