Race in the Making

Cognition, Culture, and the Child's Construction of Human Kinds

In Race in the Making, Hirschfeld argues that knowledge of race is not derived from observations of physical difference, nor does it develop in the same way as knowledge of other social categories. Instead, his central claim is that racial thinking is the product of a special-purpose cognitive competence for understanding and representing human kinds. He also challenges the conventional wisdom that race is purely a social construction by demonstrating that a common set of abstract principles underlies all systems of racial thinking, whatever other historical and cultural specificities may be associated with them.

After surveying the literature on the development of a cultural psychology of race, Hirschfeld presents original studies that examine children's (and occasionally adults') representations of race. He sketches how a jointly cultural and psychological approach to race might proceed, showing how this approach yields new insights into the emergence and elaboration of racial thinking.

Table of Contents

  1. Series Foreword
  2. Preface
  3. Acknowledgements
  4. Introduction
  5. 1. Representing Race: Universal and Comparative Perspectives
  6. 2. Mining History for Psychological Wisdom: Rethinking Racial Thinking
  7. 3. Domain Specificity and the Study of Race1
  8. 4. Do Children Have a Theory of Race?1
  9. 5. Race, Language, and Collective Inference1
  10. 6. The Appearance of Race: Perception in the Construction of Racial Categories1
  11. 7. The Cultural Biology of Race1
  12. Conclusion
  13. Appendix
  14. References
  15. Index