chapter  6
21 Pages

‘An ancient race outworn’: malaria and race in colonial India, 1860–1930

ByDavid Arnold

Much recent discussion of race has been concerned with racial theories advanced in Europe and North America from the mid-eighteenth century onwards and with what appear from the perspective of the West to be the defining moments in the history of race – Atlantic slavery and Nazi genocide against the Jews. With the exception of South Africa, relatively little consideration has been given, by contrast, to how ideas of race were evolved and enacted in various extra-European locations. Scholarship has thus tended to reinforce the notion of race as a relatively homogeneous set of ideas and practices, driven by material greed and social anxieties in the West, and capable of delivering social power and political authority to whites across the globe. Race was, however, a far more nebulous and often selfcontradictory concept, and rather than being the voice of white authority alone, could form part of an interactive process by which ideas of race were internalised and reworked by the subjects of European racial discourse and practice, in search of their own empowerment.