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Racial WorldmakingThe Power of Popular Fiction$
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Mark C. Jerng

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780823277759

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823277759.001.0001

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The “Facts” of Blackness and Anthropological Worlds

The “Facts” of Blackness and Anthropological Worlds

(p.103) Chapter 5: The “Facts” of Blackness and Anthropological Worlds
Racial Worldmaking

Mark C. Jerng

Fordham University Press

This chapter discusses the origins and development of sword and sorcery in the pulps and fanzines of the 1930s. It starts with Robert Howard’s Conan the Barbarian stories and reads these stories in relation to contemporaneous fanzine commentary. show an intricate process of worldbuilding whereby race is located at higher and higher levels of meaning even though its correspondence with actual “races” is deeply questioned. This interpretive strategy mirrors the work of cultural anthropologists who were critiquing biological racism, thus demonstrating that race was not so much being critiqued as it was being elevated to a different order of meaning. It details these interpretive strategies in order to show the simultaneous reproduction of race in the building of sword and sorcery as a genre with the embedding of race in anthropological thought.

Keywords:   Allegory, Anthropology of race, Benedict, Ruth, Conan the Barbarian, Fantasy, Fanzines, Howard, Robert, Sword and sorcery, UNESCO Statement on Race

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