New Book Unravels History of Skin Color

The Root Recommends: Living Color, a look at migration and globalism's impact on biology.

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University of California Press

(The Root) -- Even in today's not-so-post-racial landscape, skin color plays a large and political role. From medicine to social sciences, our skin color has arguably become an essential trait in our being. Nina G. Jablonski's Living Color: The Biological and Social Meaning of Skin Color delivers an open, frank and important dialogue on the causes and effects of pigmentation on our biological and social lives -- all from an anthropological perspective. 

Beyond race, Jablonski focuses specifically on pigment and how migration and an increased globalism have helped change the biology of skin color. Living Color investigates the changing perceptions of skin color throughout history, as well as the various social and political roles skin pigmentation has taken throughout the modern and postmodern eras. 

The Root's editor-in-chief Henry Louis Gates Jr. calls Living Color, "[a] groundbreaking book [that] brings the biological and social meanings of skin color into dialogue with one another, creating an open, rich and essential conversation."

Jablonski is a distinguished anthropology professor at Penn State. Living Color is available online and in bookstores on Sept. 27. 

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