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Jeffrey B. Perry Blog

Theodore W. Allen's The Invention of the White Race Challenges Much Assumed History

The Invention of the White Race
Theodore W. Allen’s The Invention of the White Race is an extremely important and complex two-volume work. He believed that his thesis on “the origin and nature of the so-called ‘white race’” contained the “root . . . of a general theory of United States history, more consistent than others that have been advanced.” The work moves between historical, theoretical and statistical presentations; covers materials from four continents and from medieval times to the present; presents new theoretical concepts and definitions; and poses, in a very principled way, formidable challenges to much assumed history.

In a 1998 “Summary of the Argument of 'The Invention of the White Race'” Allen explains that the two volumes offer a historical treatment of a few precisely defined concepts including: (1) “the essential nature of the social control structure of class societies”; (2) “racial oppression without reference to ‘phenotype’ factors”; (3) “racial slavery in continental Anglo-America as a particular form of racial oppression”; and (4) “the ‘white race’--an all-class association of European-Americans held together by ‘racial’ privileges conferred on laboring-class European-Americans relative to African-Americans--as the principal historic guarantor of ruling-class domination of national life.”

Allen’s “Summary,” which is over one-hundred pages long, was written one year after publication of the second volume in an effort to introduce readers to the subject matter of Invention. It is well thought out, well written, and highly recommended.

For reviewer comments on The Invention of the White Race CLICK HERE

For Theodore W. Allen, “Summary of the Argument of The Invention of the White Race,” in 2 Parts, Cultural Logic, Vol. 1, no. 2 (Spring 1998) CLICK HERE).

For a Slide Presentation/Talk on Theodore W. Allen's -- The Invention of the White Race

For an in-depth treatment of Allen's work see Jeffrey B. Perry, "The Developing Conjuncture and Some Insights From Hubert Harrison and Theodore W. Allen on the Centrality of the Fight Against White Supremacy" (Cultural Logic, July 2010) CLICK HERE

Each volume of The invention of the White Race is available from Verso Books at 40% off with free shipping and an e-book version bundled free.

See Vol. I: Racial Oppression and Social Control

and see Vol. II: The Origin of Racial Oppression in Anglo-America
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