Reading List

Race and Ethnicity: Verso Student Reading

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Featuring Nick Estes, Angela Davis, Asad Haider, W. E. B. Du Bois, and David Roediger, our student reading includes books on the making of the Black working class, new editions of classic Walter Rodney texts, the origins of identity politics, the future of Black radicalism, Asian-American organizing, racialized global policing, and much more.

Much has been written on how colonized peoples took up British and European ideas and turned them against empire when making claims to freedom and self-determination. Insurgent Empire sets the record straight in demonstrating that these people were much more than victims of imperialism or, subsequently, the passive beneficiaries of an enlightened British conscience—they were insurgents whose legacies shaped and benefited the nation that once oppressed them.

In this groundbreaking discussion, Ed Morales explains how Latinx political identities are tied to a long Latin American history of mestizaje—“mixedness” or “hybridity”—and that this border thinking is both a key to understanding bilingual, bicultural Latin cultures and politics and a challenge to America’s infamously black–white racial regime. This searching and long-overdue exploration of the meaning of race in American life reimagines Cornel West’s bestselling Race Matters with a unique Latinx inflection. 

In this classic work published in the heady days of anti-colonial revolution, Groundings with My Brothers follows the global circulation of emancipatory ideas, from the black students of North America to the Rasta counterculture of Jamaica and beyond. The book is striking in its simultaneous ability to survey the wide and heterogeneous international context while remaining anchored in grassroots politics, as Rodney offers us first-hand accounts of mass movement organizing. 

Meticulously researched, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa remains a relevant study for understanding the so-called “great divergence” between Africa and Europe, just as it remains a prescient resource for grasping the multiplication of global inequality today. In this new edition, Angela Davis offers a striking foreword to the book, exploring its lasting contributions to a revolutionary and feminist practice of anti-imperialism. 

Drawing on the words and deeds of black revolutionary theorists, he argues that identity politics is not synonymous with anti-racism, but instead amounts to the neutralization of its movements. It marks a retreat from the crucial passage of identity to solidarity, and from individual recognition to the collective struggle against an oppressive social structure.  

Weaving together autobiographical reflection, historical analysis, theoretical exegesis, and protest reportage, Mistaken Identity is a passionate call for a new practice of politics beyond colorblind chauvinism and “the ideology of race.” 

A fascinating portrait of life with the Black Panthers in Algiers: a story of liberation and radical politics.

One of America’s most historic political trials is undoubtedly that of Angela Davis. Opening with a letter from James Baldwin to Davis, and including contributions from numerous radicals such as Black Panthers George Jackson, Huey P. Newton, Bobby Seale and Erica Huggins, this book is not only an account of Davis’s incarceration and the struggles surrounding it, but also perhaps the most comprehensive and thorough analysis of the prison system of the United State.

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.

Nick Estes traces traditions of Indigenous resistance that led to the #NoDAPL movement. Our History Is the Future is at once a work of history, a manifesto, and an intergenerational story of resistance.

BACK IN STOCK IN THE US ON 9/9.

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.

Radical glossary of the vocabulary of policing that redefines the very way we understand law enforcement. 

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. 

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

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.

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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All our student reading is 50% off as part of our Back to University/School sale. Ends September 30, 23:59 EST. See all our student reading lists here.