More than a quarter-century after the passage of civil rights legislation in the United States and decades since the last European colonies attained their independence, race continues to play a central role in cultural, political, and economic life, both in the United States and around the globe. Race divides societies and individuals, shapes social policies of the most diverse sort, and organizes basic ideas about human identity and difference. Why? This ambitious book addresses the gaps in our understanding of contemporary racial dynamics, and develops a powerful theoretical approach to the vast subject of race. Howard Winant, one of the leading writers in the United States on the subject, argues that race cannot be understood as a "social problem" or as a "survival" of earlier, more benighted ages. Indeed, from the rise of Europe to the present, race has been a social condition, a permanent though flexible feature of human society and identity. The key to Winant's analysis is racial formation theory, an approach he refines and advances as he considers a wide range of contemporary controversies in racial theory and politics. Among these are the relationship between race and class, as well as the racial dimensions of gender, diaspora, colonialism, and fascism. Other key topics include the changing nature of racial identity in the post-civil rights era, the 1992 Los Angeles riot, and politics of race in Brazil. Intellectually challenging and clearly written, well informed and deeply committed to social and racial justice, Racial Conditions marks an important advance in critical thinking about race today. Howard Winant teaches sociology at Temple University.