Racialized modernity: An analytics of white mythologies

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195 Scopus citations


This article is located in parentheses between two quotations from Derrida's reflections on white mythologies, defined here as the 'rhetoric of modernity'. It re-conceptualizes race by interrogating its elision in contemporary social and political thought where discussions of modernity routinely ignore colonial and racial formations. It discusses a commentary by Jurgen Habermas on Hegel's discourse of modernity, which is used heuristically to illustrate the systematic elisions of race in contemporary theoretical discussions of modernity. Reading various juxtapositions between the two, it argues Habermas's erasure of distinctly colonial/racial themes in Hegel's concept of modernity, can be used to develop an analytics of racialized modernity, against white mythologies, which understands race beyond corporeality as signifying colonial distinctions between assemblages of 'Europeanness' and 'non-Europeanness'. Building on developments in race/modernity studies it argues for the importance of conceptualizing race without any residual reliance on a biological referent to guarantee the object of critique.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)643-663
Number of pages21
JournalEthnic and Racial Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2007


  • Coloniality
  • Europe
  • Habermas
  • Hegel
  • Modernity
  • Racialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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