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Abstract

Toward a global idea of race , by Denise Ferreira da Silva, Minneapolis: The University of Minnesota Press, 2007, 352 pp., US$75 (hardback), ISBN 9-78-081664920-4 What type of theoretical approaches would avoid recuperating the “exclusionary effects of modern grand narratives of science and history?” asks Denise Ferreira da Silva at the beginning of her incisive study on the “analytics of raciality” (4). Toward a Global Idea of Race is a theoretical tour de force that tackles this particular question in an attempt to salvage postcolonial studies and “the critical field of racial and ethnic studies (CRES)” from their current epistemic predicament (xxv). Through a fascinating examination of empiricism, rationalism, phenomenology, Marxism, postmodernism, postcolonialism, and critical race scholarship, Silva develops an astute critique of European knowledge production. Silva's book follows a tripartite organization, beginning with the section on “Homo Historicus,” an account of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century philosophical treatises; followed by “Homo Scientificus,” an excavation of the nineteenth-century science of nature and man; and concluding with “Homo Modernus,” an interrogation of the national modern text. Silva explores these stages of European onto-epistemology to prove that postmodern scholars have declared prematurely the death of the subject, given that its epistemological arsenal,
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