Recent works on racial theory and state theory have tended to ignore each other. The Racial State, by contrast, argues that race is integral to the conceptual, philosophical and material emergence of the modern nation state, and to its ongoing management. By interrogating conceptual shifts in defining the racial state over time, Goldberg shows that debates and struggles about race in a wide variety of societies are really about the nature of political constitution and community. The book concludes with a discussion of how state and citizenship might be reconceived on assumptions of heterogeneity, mobility, and global openness. In this way, at the same time as providing a comprehensive account of modern state formation through racial configuration, this book also rethinks contemporary racial theorizing. The author's approach is thoroughly interdisciplinary, combining perspectives from political theory and philosophy, historical sociology and anthropology, and cultural, postcolonial and African American studies.