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Race Before Modernity Book Club – Divine Variations: How Christian Thought Became Racial Science

Wed, 12/16 · 2:00 pm · Virtual – via Zoom

Program in Medieval Studies

Graduate Book Club – Race Before Modernity

Earnestine Qiu and Justin Willson invite interested graduate students to join the second Race Before Modernity Book Club meeting on Wednesday, December 16 at 2 pm EST over Zoom. We plan to read Terence Keel’s Divine Variations: How Christian Thought Became Racial Science (2020). If you would like to participate, please RSVP by November 4th, including your shipping address, to Justin Willson (jwillson@princeton.edu), and we will have Labyrinth Books mail you a copy of the book.

In addition to discussing the texts themselves, we hope to give special focus to the process of writing socially engaged scholarship. That way, instead of just debating ideas abstractly we could use the forum to cultivate a practically minded discussion that gives graduate students strategies for integrating questions of race into their research. Thanks to a generous grant from the Humanities Council, we will be able to invite all of our selected authors to our meetings, including Professor Keel.

In keeping with book club tradition, requesting a copy of the book constitutes a commitment to participate in the discussion.

In later sessions, we will be reading (i) Sara Lipton, Dark Mirror: The Medieval Origins of Anti-Semitism (2014); (ii) Jean-Frédéric Schaub, Race is about Politics: Lessons from History (2019); and (iii) Cord J. Whitaker, Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking (2019).

Join the discussion at this link.


The Program in Medieval Studies provides opportunities for graduate students from across departments and disciplines to participate in workshops, lectures, book clubs, and the annual Medieval Studies Graduate Conference. Please visit this link for more information.

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