Skip to main content

Topics in History: Constructing Whiteness: Race-making in 20th c. U.S.

A black and white photograph of a man and woman overlooking the Chicago World Fair
Chicago World Fair, 1893

We have developed complex language to describe the socio-political processes of race making, but the covert ways that whiteness functions as both a cultural and racial category in American history remain largely unacknowledged. Beginning with the growth of racial science in the mid-19th century and moving through to the end of the 20th century, this course will examine the various interlocking processes that contribute to the construction, (re)formation, and deployment of whiteness in the U.S. This course will explore how conceptions of whiteness change over time and vary across space, and in relation to the contemporaneous (re)making of other racial categories. Incorporating an interdisciplinary historical approach and intersectional feminist perspectives students will be asked to engage with textual, audio, and visual sources to understand and interpret the changing meanings of race and whiteness.  

This course is offered as a 3.0-unit seminar during the 2022-2023 year. 

Department of History, Queen's University

49 Bader Lane, Watson Hall 212
Kingston ON K7L 3N6




Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.