Dossier Society History

The Making of Race
A Summer Selection, Part II

by The editorial team , 27 July 2020

Books & Ideas is slowing down for the summer and will be offering weekly selections of reviews and essays published over the last year. This week’s selection questions the social construction of racial identities, and the history of domination.

Ary Gordien, “The Afro: More Than a Hairstyle”
Recent contentious comments on social media in France show that the hair of Afro-descendants is still stigmatized. How is one to explain this persistence of the stigmatization of curly hair? What are the underlying political stakes of these seemingly purely aesthetic considerations?


Andy Cabot, “Was New Orleans Caribbean?”
Until recently, the history of French colonial New Orleans was treated as an exception. Writing a total social history of 18th Century New Orleans, Cécile Vidal offers to reframe it as a Caribbean outpost of the French Empire rather than as a North American frontier town.


Ivan Jablonka & Pauline Peretz, “Black Men and the Choice of Masculinity. An Interview with Thomas Chatterton Williams”
Why has authentic blackness been conflated with “being cool” in Northern American inner cities? Thomas C. Williams, an African-American writer living in Paris, is exploring other ways to authenticity and masculinity.

by The editorial team, 27 July 2020

To quote this article :

The editorial team, « The Making of Race . A Summer Selection, Part II », Books and Ideas , 27 July 2020. ISSN : 2105-3030. URL :

Nota Bene:

If you want to discuss this essay further, you can send a proposal to the editorial team (redaction at We will get back to you as soon as possible.

Our partners

© - Any replication forbidden without the explicit consent of the editors. - Mentions légales - webdesign : Abel Poucet