Against the historical background of the transitions between religion and race, of race as the secularization of the religious, this article traces the ways race operates in the conduct of social struggles, wars, and warring in the making and refashioning of racial conception. This militarizing of society that has constitutively marked modern state formation shapes social disciplining of individuals and the regulation of social structures. The article exemplifies how this has given rise to a discourse of martial races, which in turn shades social practices from the industrial to the financial sector, from political policy to recreation. The article closes with an argument to demilitarize the social and contrast militarizing politics with a politics of irritation.
David Theo Goldberg is professor of comparative literature and anthropology at the University of California, Irvine, and the director of the University of California Humanities Research Institute. He is the author and editor of many books on racism and race, most recently and Sites of Race (2014).