Traces of History presents a new approach to race and to comparative colonial studies. Bringing a historical perspective to bear on the regimes of race that colonizers have sought to impose on Aboriginal people in Australia, on Blacks and Native Americans in the United States, on Ashkenazi Jews in Western Europe, on Arab Jews in Israel/Palestine, and on people of African descent in Brazil, this book shows how race marks and reproduces the different relationships of inequality into which Europeans have coopted subaltern populations: territorial dispossession, enslavement, confinement, assimilation, and removal.
Charting the different modes of domination that engender specific regimes of race and the strategies of anti-colonial resistance they entail, the book powerfully argues for cross-racial solidarities that respect these historical differences.
“‘Race is a social construct.’ Sure, but what does that mean? Patrick Wolfe, preeminent scholar of settler colonial studies, tackles this question with theoretical sophistication and vivid historical detail. Spanning four continents and four centuries, Wolfe reveals the operations of race-making in specific historical processes, in the always contingent struggles over land, labor, culture, and power. A magnificent work of erudition and elucidation, Traces of History will change how we talk about the ‘social construction of race.’”
“Wolfe brilliantly historicises a comprehensive and global thesis, concluding that racism is not here to stay. An original and essential text.”
“A unique tour de force. This powerful journey into the past, covering Australia, North America, Brazil, Europe and Palestine, will leave you convinced that racism can be defeated, but its elusive and cynical human attitude has still to be acknowledged and confronted. No other book will help you do this better.”
“Although racial conflict and racial injustice have shaped the modern history of the entire planet, there is little awareness of how pervasive the legacy of race and racism really is. Traces of History at long last provides a global, comparative text on race. Wolfe draws on a wide range of scholars to provide an accessible text on race and racism as worldwide phenomena. A deeply researched, long-overdue effort. Highly recommended for course adoption!”
“As profound as it is unsettling.”
“Wolfe's work directly addresses the questions “how are races constructed, under what circumstances, and in whose interests?” A thorough reckoning with these questions in Traces of History powerfully suggests that if we understand how race was constructed in various contexts, then we can work to comprehensively dismantle those constructions to the benefit of a truly egalitarian society.”