Course code:



MA - Intermediate/Advanced

Class size limit:


Meets the following requirements:

  • HY - History
  • HS - Human Studies

Lab fee:


Typically offered:

Upon occasion

Race as a concept was constructed in the western world in the early modern era as commentary on and explanation of human differences. This class will examine the origins of the idea of race and the ways it is central to the creation of the modern world. Drawing on histories of Europe and the Americas this class will look at the different ways racialized thinking was deployed in colonial contexts. Central themes of the course will be the history of race as an idea, the nature and impact of the Atlantic slave trade, how indigenous peoples reshaped European ideas of what it meant to be human, the construction of whiteness, and the history of slavery in the new world. The period covered by the class spans from the origins of race as an idea to the late nineteenth century. The course will be a hybrid of a lecture course and a readings seminar. Students will read major works in the field and develop an understanding of the historical background of contemporary forms of structural inequality justified and reinforced by racialized thinking. Students will do a series of short assignments, lead discussion of books, and undertake a major research paper. The research projects will allow students to explore topics beyond the chronological and spatial scope of the course.



Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.