Race and Ethnicity Undergraduate Reading List
No one has better articulated why race cannot serve as the starting point for discussions about inequality in the United States — and what we miss when they are — than Barbara and Karen Fields, authors of the 2012 book Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life. – Jason Farbham, Jacobin
Most people assume that racism grows from a perception of human difference: the fact of race gives rise to the practice of racism. Sociologist Karen E. Fields and historian Barbara J. Fields argue otherwise: the practice of racism produces the illusion of race, through what they call “racecraft.”
“Smart, funny, comprehensive, and theoretically astute.”
– Nell Irvin Painter, author of The History of White People
The “yellow peril” is one of the oldest and most pervasive racist ideas in Western culture—dating back to the birth of European colonialism during the Enlightenment. Yet while Fu Manchu looks almost quaint today, the prejudices that gave him life persist in modern culture. Yellow Peril! is the first comprehensive repository of anti-Asian images and writing, and it surveys the extent of this iniquitous form of paranoia.
“The Muslims Are Coming should be widely read, particularly by liberals who consider their own positions unassailable.”
-Robin Yassin-Kassab, The Guardian
The new front in the War on Terror is the “homegrown enemy,” domestic terrorists who have become the focus of sprawling counterterrorism structures of policing and surveillance in the United States and across Europe. Based on several years of research and reportage, in locations as disparate as Texas, New York and Yorkshire, and written in engrossing, precise prose, this is the first comprehensive critique of counterradicalization strategies. A powerful critique of US surveillance of Muslims and prosecution of homegrown terrorism.
The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (only available in North America)
By David R. Roediger
“The Celestine Prophecy of whiteness studies.”– SPIN
Combining classical Marxism, psychoanalysis, and the new labor history pioneered by E. P. Thompson and Herbert Gutman, David Roediger’s widely acclaimed book provides an original study of the formative years of working-class racism in the United States.
Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman
By Michele Wallace, foreword by Jamilah Lemieux
“A light to Black Feminism, Women and Gender Studies, African American and Diaspora Studies, Film Studies, popular culture, the art world, and beyond.” – Feminist Wire
Originally published in 1978, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman caused a storm of controversy. Michele Wallace blasted the masculine biases of the black politics that emerged from the sixties. She described how women remained marginalized by the patriarchal culture of Black Power, demonstrating the ways in which a genuine female subjectivity was blocked by the traditional myths of black womanhood. With a foreword that examines the debate the book has sparked between intellectuals and political leaders, as well as what has—and, crucially, has not—changed over the last four decades, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman continues to be deeply relevant to current feminist debates and black theory today.
“As I read Beyond the Pale, all I can think is that this should be a primer for doing intersectional feminist work in any environment, making the heavy lifting of anti-racism in feminist circles a task for white women to undertake.” -Mikki Kendall
“Ware combines autobiography, history, and visual analysis to better understand both the social construction of white femininity and the relationship between white feminism and Britain’s longer history of imperialism.” -Sam Huber, Feministing
How have ideas about white women figured in the history of racism? Vron Ware argues that they have been central, and that feminism has, in many ways, developed as a political movement within racist societies.
“This book is important reading for activists and theorists alike, and for all of us who want to be both.” – Angela Y. Davis
In this expanded new edition of a highly acclaimed work, Manning Marable rejects both liberal inclusionist strategies and the separatist politics of the likes of Louis Farrakhan, arguing powerfully for a new 'transformationist' strategy, which retains a distinctive black cultural identity but draws together all the poor and exploited in a united struggle against oppression. In a substantial new introduction, Marable looks back at the last ten years of African-American politics and the fight against racism, outlining a trenchant analysis of the 'New Racial Domain' that must be uprooted.
“A monumental study of the birth of racism in the American South which makes truly new and convincing points about one of the most critical problems in US history … a highly original and seminal work.”
– David Roediger
“A must read for all social justice activists, teachers, and scholars.”
– Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, author of Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie
From colonial newspapers to the Internet age, America’s racial divisions have played a central role in the creation of the country’s media system, just as the media has contributed to—and every so often, combated—racial oppression. This acclaimed book reveals how racial segregation distorted the information Americans have received, even as it depicts the struggle of Black, Latino, Asian, and Native American journalists who fought to create a vibrant yet little-known alternative, democratic press.
“Gott's achievement is to show, as no historian has done before, that violence was a central, constant and ubiquitous part of the making and keeping of the British Empire. ” – Richard Drayton, Guardian
Contrary to nationalist legend and schoolboy history lessons, the British Empire was not a great civilizing power bringing light to the darker corners of the earth. Richard Gott’s magisterial work recounts the empire’s misdeeds from the beginning of the eighteenth century to the Indian Mutiny, spanning the red-patched imperial globe from Ireland to Australia, telling a story of almost continuous colonialist violence.
“What the Communist Manifesto is to the capitalist world, Annihilation of Caste is to India.” —Anand Teltumbde, author of The Persistence of Caste
B.R. Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste is one of the most important, yet neglected, works of political writing from India. Written in 1936, it is an audacious denunciation of Hinduism and its caste system. Ambedkar – a figure like W.E.B. Du Bois – offers a scholarly critique of Hindu scriptures, scriptures that sanction a rigidly hierarchical and iniquitous social system.
How I Stopped Being a Jew
By Shlomo Sand
How I Stopped Being a Jew discusses the negative effects of the Israeli exploitation of the “chosen people” myth and its “holocaust industry.” Sand criticizes the fact that, in the current context, what “Jewish” means is, above all, not being Arab and reflects on the possibility of a secular, non-exclusive Israeli identity, beyond the legends of Zionism.
“A cornerstone of the multicultural canon.” – Chronicle of Higher Education
The remarkable life of Rigoberta Menchú, a Guatemalan peasant woman, reflects on the experiences common to many Indian communities in Latin America. Menchú suffered gross injustice and hardship in her early life: her brother, father and mother were murdered by the Guatemalan military. She learned Spanish and turned to catechistic work as an expression of political revolt as well as religious commitment. Menchú vividly conveys the traditional beliefs of her community and her personal response to feminist and socialist ideas.
“[The] penetration of prison culture into daily life and particularly schools has been brilliantly traced by US writer Annette Fuentes in Lockdown High” —Guardian
School violence has fallen steadily for twenty years. Yet in schools throughout the United States, Annette Fuentes finds metal detectors and drug tests for aspirin, police profiling of students with no records, arbitrary expulsions, armed teachers, increased policing, and all-seeing electronic surveillance. These “zero tolerance” measures push the most vulnerable and academically needy students out of the classroom and into harm’s way. Fuentes’s moving stories will astonish and anger readers, as she makes the case that the public schools of the twenty-first century reflect a society with an unhealthy fixation on crime, security and violence.
“White Riot—this loud, brilliant collection of rants and critical explosions on race, music, and rebellion—has a radical message that goes far beyond punk: in order to build transformative movements and cultures, we first have to reckon with the riots of our own.”
– Jeff Chang
From the Clash to Los Crudos, skinheads to afro-punks, the punk rock movement has been obsessed by race. And yet the connections have never been traced in a comprehensive way. White Riot is the definitive study of the subject, collecting first-person writing, lyrics, letters to zines, and analyses of punk history from across the globe. This book brings together writing from leading critics such as Greil Marcus and Dick Hebdige, personal reflections from punk pioneers such as Jimmy Pursey, Darryl Jenifer and Mimi Nguyen, and reports on punk scenes from Toronto to Jakarta.
“The first major book on the Chicano movement by one of its leaders, who is also a first-rate scholar. Youth, Identity, Power is certain to be a benchmark for all future work on the subject.”
– Clayborne Carson
Youth, Identity, Power is the classic study of the origins of the 1960s Chicano civil rights movement. Written by a leader of the Chicano student movement who also played a key role in the creation of the wider Chicano Movement, this is the first full-length work to appear on the subject. It fills an important gap in the history of political and social protest in the United States.