Hybridity refers in its most basic sense to mixture. The term originates from biology and was subsequently employed in linguistics and in racial theory in the nineteenth century. Its contemporary uses are scattered across numerous academic disciplines and is salient in popular culture.  This article explains the history of hybridity and its major theoretical discussion amongst the discourses of race, post-colonialism, Identity (social science), anti-racism & multiculturalism, and globalization. This article illustrates the development of hybridity rhetoric from biological to cultural discussions.

Hybridity as racial mixing

Hybridity originates from the Latin hybrida, a term used to classify the offspring of a tame sow and a wild boar. A hybrid is something that is mixed, and hybridity is simply mixture.  As an explicative term, hybridity became a useful tool in forming a fearful discourse of racial mixing that arose toward the end of the 18th Century. Scientific models of anatomy and craniometry were used to argue that Africans and Asians were racially inferior to Europeans.  The fear of miscegenation that followed responds to the concern that the offspring of racial interbreeding would result in the dilution of the European race.  Hybrids were seen as an aberration, worse than the inferior races, a weak and diseased mutation.  Hybridity as a concern for racial purity responds clearly to the zeitgeist of colonialism where, despite the backdrop of the humanitarian age of enlightenment, social hierarchy was beyond contention as was the position of Europeans at its summit…