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Creating Boundaries: The Politics of Race and Nation

Kathryn A. Manzo
ISBN: 978-1-55587-564-0
1995/253 pages/LC: 95-41218

"A wide-ranging and thoughtful book.... it is theoretically sound, intellectually challenging, and is certainly a much needed addition to the literature on nationalism."—Nader Entessar, Canadian Review of Studies in Nationalism

"Illuminates the continuing discord between national political creeds and folkways on the one hand and the boundary-leaping imperatives of contemporary international life on the other....the evidence Manzo marshals underscores the hypocritical and self-serving nature of most nationalist advocacy, along with the ironies and paradoxes that beset these all-too-human attempts to create boundaries that, one might say, Nature never intended."—Donald Lammers, H-Africa


This imaginative and ambitious book takes issue convincingly with common conceptions about the relationship—or lack of relationships—among race, nationalism, and religion.

Manzo sets the modern nation-state in historical, global, and philosophical context to support three key themes. First, she argues that the theoretical literature on nations and nationalism is limited by a too-ready acceptance of modern ideas and modern practices of boundary creation. Second, she shows that the articulation of race with nation continues even in those societies that have long prided themselves on being "nonracial." Finally, she demonstrates that the concept of race, far from being about something as straightforward as black or white, has been created and recreated in various settings as nations have been made and remade, and vice versa; race and nation have been and remain mutually constitutive.

Case studies of South Africa, Britain, and Australia provide strong defense of Manzo's arguments.


Kathryn Manzo is lecturer in international development in the departments of politics and geography at the University of Newcastle (UK). She is author of Domination, Resistance, and Social Change in South Africa: The Local Effects of Global Power.


  • Nationalism and Global Politics.
  • Spiritual and Racial Families: Nationalism as Scripture.
  • Mimosas of the Veld: White and Rainbow Nations In South Africa.
  • Turnip Seeds in the Parsnip Fields: British Empire and Island Nation.
  • Wattles in the Bush: White Australia and the Multicultural Family.
  • National Families in Global Space.