Okihiro traces racial theory
from the environmental determinism espoused by Aristotle to the later belief that heredity determined racial characteristics.
Blending contemporary racial theory
with historical examples such as the 2939 Clark "doll studies" (which revealed the disheartening ethnic biases of young children), Biss displays an impressive depth of knowledge as well as feeling.
Much of this hybrid theory can be criticized as being excessively bogged down in theory; it refers to unhealthy quarrels on theories such as racial theory
, post colonialism and cultural studies.
The racial theory
is far from proven, yet it was surprising to see lengthy probes of the poll debacle -- such as one by Ken Dilanian in USA Today -- that did not even mention the possibility of some sort of modest race effect.
Foote's work is regrettably filled with the jargon of postcolonial studies and racial theory
, much of which obfuscates as much as it reveals.
After a lengthy first chapter that treats, among others, Said, Asad, Habermas, and Blumenberg, Pecora moves to discussions of Walter Benjamin and Siegfried Kracauer, with Kracauer as something of a corrective to Benjamin's Messianism (Chapter 2), of Emile Durkheim, who exemplifies the process by which modernity preserves religion in the form of the social (Chapter 3), of Matthew Arnold and racial theory
(Chapter 4), and of Virginia Woolf, whose modernism sustains the religiosity of the Clapham sect as a form of social habitus (Chapter 5).
He says, "we should acknowledge Hess's racial theory
as a powerful and persuasive narrative of self-affirmation.
In Germany, Nazi racial theory
was based on the rejection of traditional Judaeo-Christian ethics, which Nietzsche called the "morality of slaves.