[Marxism] Notes on David Brion Davis' review

Rakesh Bhandari bhandari at berkeley.edu
Wed Nov 1 09:09:34 MST 2006

I appreciate Y.K.'s contribution here. My skepticism of Davis' 
understanding of the Islamic slave trade is based on the popular 
account by Ronald Segal Islam's Black Slaves and the very short 
chapter in ML Bush's excellent synoptic account Servitude in Modern 
Times. I think Y.K and I may have some difference on the question of 
whether a proto racist ideology can be found in European feudalism or 
whether the doctrine of limpieza de sangre was racist. I am 
skeptical--after all, certificates for the purity of blood could be 
bought, and suspicion towards the conversos seems to have been more 
rooted in myths about the strength of Jewish culture than in myths 
about the power of Jewish "blood" understood as proto genetic 
concept.   Yet my skepticism may underline to Mark that I am 
defining racism too narrowly and tying racism too tightly to a 
naturalistic conception of heredity.   

But I am glad that I am in agreement with someone on this list about something!


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