The Blacks of Premodern China
By Don J. Wyatt
Why this book?
Everyone knows about how the People’s Republic of China treats Tibetans and Uighurs today, but how many know about premodern China’s response to people it considered foreign, barbarian, or Black? Don Wyatt’s book shows how people in Southeast Asia—Sumatra, Java, the Malay archipelago—were considered by China as Black, alongside actual Africans. An excellent companion book to read together with this is Shao-yun Yang’s The Way of the Barbarians: Redrawing Ethnic Boundaries in Tang and Song China. Many books on race before the modern era focus on the West, but how about race elsewhere? How about China, a country that’s fast becoming a world power?
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