Globalizing Race explores how intersections between French antisemitism and imperialism shaped the development of European racial thought. Ranging from the African misadventures of the antisemitic Marquis de Morès to the Parisian novels and newspapers of late nineteenth-century professional antisemites, Dorian Bell argues that France’s colonial expansion helped antisemitism take its modern, racializing form—and that, conversely, antisemitism influenced the elaboration of the imperial project itself.
Globalizing Race radiates from France to place authors like Guy de Maupassant and Émile Zola into sustained relation with thinkers from across the ideological spectrum, including Hannah Arendt, Friedrich Nietzsche, Frantz Fanon, Karl Marx, Max Horkheimer, and Theodor Adorno. Engaging with what has been called the “spatial turn” in social theory, the book offers new tools for thinking about how racisms interact across space and time. Among these is what Bell calls racial scalarity. Race, Bell argues, did not just become globalized when European racism and antisemitism accompanied imperial penetration into the farthest reaches of the world. Rather, race became most thoroughly global as a method for constructing and negotiating the different scales (national, global, etc.) necessary for the development of imperial capitalism.
As France, Europe, and the world confront a rising tide of Islamophobia, Globalizing Race also brings into fascinating focus how present-day French responses to Muslim antisemitism hark back to older, problematic modes of representing the European colonial periphery.