Reading List

Race and Ethnicity: Verso Student Reading

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Featuring Angela Davis, W. E. B. Du Bois, and David Roediger, our student reading includes books on the making of the Black working class, the future of Black radicalism, Asian-American organising, racialised global policing, Islamophobia in France, and much more.

See all our student reading here.

A classic history of the role of Black working-class struggles throughout the twentieth century.

With race and the police once more burning issues, this classic work from one of America’s giants of black radicalism has lost none of its prescience or power.

Originally published in 1978, Black Macho and the Myth of the Superwoman caused a storm of controversy. 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.

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.

Tackling the myth of a post-racial society.

Combining firsthand accounts from activists with the research of scholars and reflections from artists, Policing the Planet traces the global spread of the broken-windows policing strategy, first established in New York City under Police Commissioner William Bratton. It’s a doctrine that has vastly broadened police power the world over—to deadly effect.

With racial justice struggles on the rise, a probing collection considers the past and future of Black radicalism.

First published in 1990, Michele Wallace’s Invisibility Blues is widely regarded as a landmark in the history of black feminism. Wallace’s considerations of the black experience in America include recollections of her early life in Harlem; a look at the continued underrepresentation of black voices in politics, media, and culture; and the legacy of such figures as Zora Neale Hurston, Toni Cade Bambara, Toni Morrison,and Alice Walker. 

A piercing denunciation of Islamophobia in France, in the tradition of Emile Zola.

The classic analysis of the caste system with an extensive introduction by Arundhati Roy.

An examination of how mainstream feminism has been mobilized in support of racist measures.

In De Colores Means All of Us, Martínez presents a radical Latina perspective on race, liberation and identity. She describes the provocative ideas and new movements created by the rapidly expanding US Latina/o community as it confronts intensified exploitation and racism.

Highly acclaimed dissection of the “new racism,” from one of the greatest radical black intellectuals of our time.

The distinguished American civil rights leader, W. E. B. Du Bois first published these fiery essays, sketches, and poems individually nearly 80 years ago. Part essay, part autobiography, Darkwater explicitly addresses significant issues, such as the oppression of women and Eurocentric standards of beauty, the historical rise of the idea of whiteness, and the abridgement of democracy along race, class, and gender lines. 

Groundbreaking analysis of the birth of racism in America.

In Volume II of The Invention of the White Race, Theodore W. Allen explores the transformation that turned African bond-laborers into slaves and segregated them from their fellow proletarians of European origin. 

Forceful and detailed account of the struggle for “freedom” after the American Civil War.

Inspired by Antonio Gramsci’s writings on the history of subaltern classes, the authors in Mapping Subaltern Studies and the Postcolonial sought to contest the elite histories of Indian nationalists by adopting the paradigm of ‘history from below’.

In this devastating critique, mounted on behalf of the radical Enlightenment tradition, Vivek Chibber offers the most comprehensive response yet to postcolonial theory.

Until the political ferment of the Long Sixties, there were no Asian Americans. There were only isolated communities of mostly Chinese, Japanese, and Filipinos lumped together as “Orientals.” Serve the People tells the story of the social and cultural movement that knit these disparate communities into a political identity, the history of how—and why—the double consciousness of Asian America came to be.

The modernity of racism and its relationship to contemporary capitalism.

An original study of the formative years of working-class racism in the United States.

David Roediger's work has been pivotal to founding the field of Critical Whiteness Studies since the publication of his groundbreaking volume The Wages of Whiteness in 1991. Yet, in recent years, Roediger's work has broadened to fundamentally question the relationships between race, class and capital more generally. 

His newest volume, Class, Race and Marxism, is the culmination of this work, and offers one of the most rigorous and nuanced analyses of the intersections of class and race, and which looks towards movements like Black Lives Matter to offer new grounds for the difficult work of building solidarity.

There is, Paul Gilroy tells us, a culture that is not specifically African, American, Caribbean, or British, but all of these at once; a black Atlantic culture whose themes and techniques transcend ethnicity and nationality to produce something new and, until now, unremarked.

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