Diverse Nations: Explorations in the History of Racial and Ethnic Pluralism, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Diverse Nations

Explorations in the History of Racial and Ethnic Pluralism, 1st Edition

By George M. Fredrickson


240 pages

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One of the world's leading historians of race relations, George Fredrickson in his newest book probes the history of racial and ethnic diversity in the United States and other parts of the world. Diverse Nations explores recent interpretations of slavery and race relations in the United States and introduces comparative perspectives on Europe, South Africa, and Brazil. Notably, the book features groundbreaking work comparing ethnoracial pluralism in France and the United States. In contrast to the similarities of race relations in the United States and South Africa, which both drew rigid domestic color lines, the United States and France have historically diverged greatly in their approaches to racial difference. Yet both are influenced by a common heritage of revolutionary republicanism, extensive immigration, and cultural pluralism. Fredrickson's rich comparisons provide stimulating new insights into the continuing impacts of slavery and beliefs about race upon our increasingly pluralistic societies.


“For more than a generation, George Fredrickson was one of the leading historians of America’s racial theory and practice and one of our leading exponents of comparative history. Diverse Nations reveals how much is to be gained by seeing America’s racial history in an international perspective and confirms George Fredrickson’s eminence in both fields.”

—Kwame Anthony Appiah, Princeton University, author of In My Father’s House: Africa in the Philosophy of Culture

“Fredrickson’s thorough research, original insights, common-sense interpretations, and lucid prose made him a historian’s historian. … A graduate student preparing for a general examination in this field could do no better than to start with [Diverse Nations].”

—James M. McPherson, in The New York Review of Books

“With a combination of concision, conceptual clarity, and vast learning, George Fredrickson, working on a broad international platform, clarifies and compares the nature of racial and ethnic experiences and policies—in the United States, South Africa, France, and Brazil, with less extended discussions of several other national experiences. There is no better or more fair-minded guide to these issues; Fredrickson’s sharply honed essays are essential reading.”

—Thomas Bender, New York University

“No one can match the transnational erudition, acuity, and sensitivity that Fredrickson brings to the task. It is a great gift to have so many of Fredrickson’s best essays assembled in one volume, and to be able to encounter the full power and sweep of his historical imagination.”

—Gary Gerstle, Vanderbilt University, author of American Crucible: Race and Nation in the Twentieth Century

“Because of his authority, all serious students of slavery and race will want to read George Fredrickson’s latest contribution, and those who have not studied these topics in any depth will find this an excellent introduction.”

—Robin Blackburn, The New School and the University of Essex, author of The Making of New World Slavery: From the Baroque to the Modern, 1492–1800

Table of Contents

Introduction Part One: Perspectives on Ethnoracial Diversity in the United States Chapter 1: Models of American Ethnic Relations: A Historical Perspective Chapter 2: The Historical Construction of Race and Citizenship in the United States Chapter 3: America's Diversity in Comparative Perspective Chapter 4: John Higham's Plural America Part Two: Slavery and Racism: Historiographic Interventions Chapter 5: The Skeleton in the Closet Chapter 6: They'll Take Their Stand: Davis and Genovese Chapter 7: America's Original Sin Chapter 8: The Long Trek to Freedom Chapter 9: Redcoat Liberation Chapter 10: Black Hearts and Monsters of the Mind: Race and Identity in Antebellum America Chapter 11: Still Separate and Unequal: The Strange Career of Affirmative Action Part Three: Cross-National Comparisons Chapter 12: Race and Racism in Historical Perspective: Comparing the United States, South Africa, and Brazil Chapter 13: Beyond Race? Ideological Color Blindness in the United States, Brazil, and South Africa Chapter 14: Diverse Republics: French and American Responses to Racial Pluralism Chapter 15: Mulattoes and Metis: Attitudes toward Miscegenation in the United States and France since the Seventeenth Century

About the Series

United States in the World

This series focuses on the United States’ interaction with and impact on world societies in key sectors of activity, with an interdisciplinary bent, in the globalizing 21st century. With relatively short books written at the college level and popular for the general public, as well, United States in the World places key topics in US history in international perspective, seeking to address the questions: What special contributions or limitations have resulted from US activities during a period when it has maintained a preeminent power position in world affairs? Has there been an "American flavor," for better or worse, to US efforts? Has there been a gap between apparent US intentions and actual results and reception in various parts of the world? How have international efforts in the sector affected internal developments in the US during the period?

These books do not assume US superiority or unchallenged dominance. They do identify areas where American people, ideas, and institutions have deliberately sought a global role in recent decades, assessing the nature and quality of their results and their interplay with other regional and global actors. Considering appropriate, variable historical focuses, books include a final section on the relevant current situation in the topic area. Historians with an interest in the contemporary period will be crucial contributors, but the series also recruits historically-minded scholars in Communication Studies and the various social sciences, especially Politics and International Studies. College courses from all those areas and beyond will be the natural home for these books.

A variety of topics are explored

Race, Gender, Religion

Human & Civil Rights

Trade & the Global Economy

Migration & Immigration

The Military, Diplomacy, Foreign Policy

Engineering, Technology, Public Health

Energy & the Environment

Media & Social Media

Management & Business


Learn more…

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