Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color (Paperback)

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Living Color is the first book to investigate the social history of skin color from prehistory to the present, showing how our body’s most visible trait influences our social interactions in profound and complex ways. In a fascinating and wide-ranging discussion, Nina G. Jablonski begins with the biology and evolution of skin pigmentation, explaining how skin color changed as humans moved around the globe. She explores the relationship between melanin pigment and sunlight, and examines the consequences of rapid migrations, vacations, and other lifestyle choices that can create mismatches between our skin color and our environment.

Richly illustrated, this book explains why skin color has come to be a biological trait with great social meaning— a product of evolution perceived by culture. It considers how we form impressions of others, how we create and use stereotypes, how negative stereotypes about dark skin developed and have played out through history—including being a basis for the transatlantic slave trade. Offering examples of how attitudes about skin color differ in the U.S., Brazil, India, and South Africa, Jablonski suggests that a knowledge of the evolution and social importance of skin color can help eliminate color-based discrimination and racism.

About the Author

Nina G. Jablonski is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Pennsylvania State University. She is the author of Skin: A Natural History, (UC Press), and was named one of the first Alphonse Fletcher, Sr. Fellows for her efforts to improve the public understanding of skin color.

Praise For…

“Accessible to general readers. . . . The book fascinates! Highly recommended.”

— D. C. Cook, Indiana University

"Clear [and] thorough, but not exhaustive or boring."

— American Journal of Anthropology
Product Details
ISBN: 9780520283862
ISBN-10: 0520283864
Publisher: University of California Press
Publication Date: October 17th, 2014
Pages: 288
Language: English