Since the social and political revolutions of the eighteenth century, the trend in western political thought has been to refuse to take for granted inequalities between persons or groups. Differential andunequal treatment has continued, of course, but it hasbeenconsidered incumbentonmodern

societies to produce a rational explanation for such treatment. In recent decades, historians andother scholars in thehumanities have studied intensely and often challenged the ostensibly rational explanations for inequalities based on identityin particular, gender, race, and ethnicity.