Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of South Africa, the United States, and Brazil

Making Race and Nation: A Comparison of South Africa, the United States, and Brazil

Cambridge University Press
December 1997
412 pages
228 x 152 mm
Paperback ISBN: 9780521585903
Hardback ISBN: 9780521584555

Anthony W. Marx, President and CEO
New York Public Library

In this bold, original and persuasive book, Anthony W. Marx provocatively links the construction of nations to the construction of racial identity. Using a comparative historical approach, Marx analyzes the connection between race as a cultural and political category rooted in the history of slavery and colonialism, and the development of three nation states. He shows how each country’s differing efforts to establish national unity and other institutional impediments have served, through the nation-building process and into their present systems of state power, to shape and often crystallize categories and divisions of race. Focusing on South Africa, Brazil and the United States, Marx illustrates and elucidates the historical dynamics and institutional relationships by which the construction of race and the development of these nations have informed one another. Deftly combining comparative history, political science and sociological interpretation, sharpened by over three-hundred interviews with key informants from each country, he follows this dialogue into the present to discuss recent political mobilization, popular protest and the current salience of race issues.


  • A comprehensive historical comparative study of the major issues of race and nation
  • Combines political, social and economic analysis to break barriers between country studies and issues of race, nation, state and social movement
  • Draws upon archival material, literature, and more than 300 interviews

Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Introduction
  • Part I. Historical and Cultural Legacies:
    • 2. Trajectories from colonialism
    • 3. Lessons from slavery
    • 4. The uncertain legacy of miscegenation
      • Implications
  • Part II. Racial Domination and the Nation-State:
    • 5. ‘Wee for thee, South Africa’: the racial state
    • 6. ‘To bind up the nation’s wounds’: the United States after the Civil War
    • 7. ‘Order and progress’: inclusive nation-state building in Brazil
    • Comparative racial domination: an overview
  • Part III. Race Making from Below:
    • 8. ‘We are a rock’: Black racial identity, mobilization and the new South Africa
    • 9. Burying Jim Crow: Black racial identity, mobilization and reform in the United States
    • 10. Breaching Brazil’s pact of silence
  • 11. Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index
Tags: , ,