Sharon Block

Colonial Complexions

Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America

University of Pennsylvania Press 2018

New Books in African American StudiesNew Books in American StudiesNew Books in HistoryNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books Network November 28, 2018 Adam McNeil

Today we have a certain idea of “race”; it’s socially constructed, conventional, and not really biological-grounded in any sense.  Yet we commonly use the...

Today we have a certain idea of “race”; it’s socially constructed, conventional, and not really biological-grounded in any sense.  Yet we commonly use the idea of “race” in our everyday lives to identify ourselves and others. We even have a typology of “races” that we use in official contexts. Yet, as Sharon Block shows in her book Colonial Complexions: Race and Bodies in Eighteenth-Century America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018)our way of putting people in “racial” buckets is not the same as that of our ancestors. Listen in as we talk about the often surprising ways in which Colonial-era Americans discussed and depicted the “races” of people in their world.


Adam McNeil is PhD student in History at the University of Delaware where he is an African American Public Humanities Initiative and Colored Conventions Project Scholar. He received his M.A. in History at Simmons College in 2018 and his B.S. in History at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University in 2015. Follow him @CulturedModesty on Twitter to learn more about upcoming interviews.

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