Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color

by

Living Color is the first book to investigate the social history of skin colour from prehistory to the present, showing how our body’s most visible feature influences our social interactions in profound and complex ways.

Living Color is the first book to investigate the social history of skin colour from prehistory to the present, showing how our body’s most visible feature influences our social interactions in profound and complex ways.

Nina Jablonski begins this fascinating and wide-ranging work with an explanation of the biology and evolution of skin pigmentation, tracing how skin colour changed as humans moved around the globe, exploring the relationship between melanin and sunlight, and examining the consequences of mismatches between our skin colour and our environment due to rapid migrations, vacations, and other lifestyle choices.

Aided by plentiful illustrations, this book also explains why skin colour has become a biological trait with great social meaning – a product of evolution perceived differently by different cultures.

It considers how we form impressions of others, how we create and use stereotypes, and how prejudices about dark skin developed and have played out through history – including as justification for the transatlantic slave trade.

Offering examples of how attitudes toward skin colour differ in the United States, Brazil, India, and South Africa, Jablonski suggests that a knowledge of the evolution and social importance of skin colour can help eliminate colour-based discrimination and racism.


Book information

ISBN: 9780520283862

Published:

Publisher: University of California Press; Reprint edition (4 Nov. 2014)

Format: Paperback


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