This article includes Nicholas Anthony Eppert's English translation of the introduction from Claude-Olivier Doron's L'homme altèrè: races et dégénérescence (XVII–XIX siècles), published in French in 2016. Inspired by a Foucauldian methodology, Doron provides a novel way to approach the historiography and philosophy of race and racism. Rather than focusing on traditional ways to conceptualize race, through alterity, and racism as emerging from polygenist theories that saw races as issuing from different origins and thwarting the idea of the unity of the human species, Doron argues that race is originally linked to theories of degeneration, and can be expressed through the concept of alteration. This allows him to envisage how discursive practices of race and racism and apparatuses of power that seek to govern race operate under theories of monogenism, which take the human species as a singular unity, and under the juridico-legal and metaphysical banner of “humanity” or “the universal.”

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