INTRODUCTION
Globalization and the Transformations of Race
deborah a. thomas and kamari maxine clarke
It has become commonplace to speak of the contemporary intensification of
processes of globalization and the ways in which they are continually reconfig-
uring the structures of everyday life. Late capitalist processes of production,
circulation, and consumption have altered interactions among economic,
political, social, cultural, and legal spheres and have generated complex deter-
ritorialized practices. While scholarly analyses of globalization have prolifer-
ated, and while there have been recent attempts within the social sciences to
consider the articulations among ethnicity, gender, and sexuality within a
global frame of analysis (Verdery 1996; Povinelli and Chauncey 1999; Schein
2000), race and processes of racialization are not usually considered central
issues in academic discussions of global economic and political transforma-
tions. Yet, because globalization today is facilitated by the transmission and
reproduction of deeply embedded social prejudices rooted in a past character-
ized by territorial concepts of belonging that both generated and were gener-
ated by racial inequalities, the contemporary redistribution of wealth has
exacerbated historically entrenched racial hierarchies. These are hierarchies
that also articulate with ideas about ethnic, gendered, and cultural di√erence.
If we know that racial formations dynamically reflect and shape global
processes and are not merely e√ects of them, why, then, have contemporary
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