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.’”