Nineteenth-century theories of race were meant to provide a comprehensive account of the history and evolution of civilizations. What they produced instead were the modern foundations for prejudice and its politics. In this enlightening book, with a new preface and postscript for the Anglophone audience, Maurice Olender investigates the unsuspected links between erudition and race, showing the affinities between the social sciences and the concept of "race."
Beginning with a brilliant study of the Protocols of Zion, the book turns to Indo-European origins of language, culture, and human "types" and moves on to studying some of the more important figures in the twentieth century, such as Eliade, Dumezil, and Momigliano. Olender elegantly teases out the cultural history of the word "race," a history that explains its diverse political uses and its continuing relevance to our global contemporary society. In doing so, he provides an accessible and lucid pathway through the labyrinth of race and erudition and examines how to deal with diversity without the problematic heritage of racial stereotypes.
Maurice Olender is Maitre de Conferences at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris.
* Acknowledgments * Preface to the English- Language Edition: "Race" without History * Introduction: Racism, a Semantic Trap The Hunt for (Self-)Evidence * Pierre Charles, the Society of Jesus, and Protocols of the Elders of Zion The Indo- European Idea between Myth and History * The Revival of Indo-European Studies: Georges Dumezil (1898--1986) * Political Uses of Indo-European Prehistory * Discussion after the Lecture "Political Uses of Indo-European Prehistory" * The Secret Feasts of Georges Dumezil: A Dialogue (1983) * The Long Indo-European Memory III. The Black Gold of Origins * Mircea Eliade (1907--1986) * History of Religions and the Nostalgia for Origins: On the Eliade--Pettazzoni Correspondence IV. Alterities * Barbarophilia and Greek Wisdom: Arnaldo Momigliano (1908--1987) V. Two Figures of Resistance * An Untimely Lucidity: Marcel Mauss (1872--1950) * A Historian of Forgetting: Leon Poliakov (1910--1997) VI. The Silence of a Generation * The Nazi Past of German Universities: Rudolf Schottlaender (1900--1988) * Hans Robert Jauss (1921--1997) * The University, Barbarism, and Memory, by Karlheinz Stierle *"The Radical Strangeness of Nazi Barbarism Has Paralyzed a Generation of Intellectuals": Dialogue with H. R. Jauss (1996) * On Silence as a Possible Form of Witnessing * Postscript for Gunter Grass * Notes * Sources * Index