chapter  2
16 Pages

Race and vulnerability

Mongols in thirteenth-century ethnographic travel writing 1
WithSierra Lomuto

This chapter demonstrates how a sense of European vulnerability and marginality in mid-thirteenth century travelogues participated in the construction of racial discourse. Through a close reading of these ethnographies/travelogues produced by Franciscan and Dominican friars, Lomuto highlights how the Mongols became objects of knowledge, conscripting them into a racial framework for the assertion of Latin European superiority. Lomuto argues against those who may dismiss these friars’ works as inconsequential to colonialist endeavors by outlining how this discourse would be cited and quoted by much later authors, such as Richard Hakluyt, who were engaged undeniably in projects of colonization.