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Drawing the Global Colour Line: White Men's Countries and the International Challenge of Racial Equality

(Critical Perspectives on Empire)

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  70 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In 1900 W. E. B. DuBois prophesied that the colour line would be the key problem of the twentieth-century and he later identified one of its key dynamics: the new religion of whiteness that was sweeping the world. Whereas most historians have confined their studies of race-relations to a national framework, this book studies the transnational circulation of people and idea ...more
Paperback, 371 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Cambridge University Press
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Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A must read for all Canadians.
Geoffrey Gordon
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: imperialism, racism
After the recent mosque massacres in Christchurch, New Zealand, a number of journalists have written about the 'unprecedented' global transmission of white power ideology enabled by new technologies that resulted in the radicalization of the Australian man who carried out those heinous attacks. However, as Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds show in Drawing the Global Colour Line, white identity politics throughout the Anglo-American world have been shaped by transnational networks of politicians, a ...more
Erik Champenois
Oct 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Helpful overview of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century transnational white supremacy. This was the time in which, according to W.E.B. Du Bois, the world discovered that it was white - and that this whiteness was significant, superior, and signified ownership of the earth. Whereas most histories of racist thought are national in scope, the treatment here is transnational: covering the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. The book focuses ...more
Nick Scott
Oct 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Lake & Reynolds explore the intricate ideological constructs of the transnational “White Men’s Countries” that we’re touted in the late 19th / early 20th centuries as a response to an intensive period of immigration into these countries and activism from racial minorities within these countries.

They combine biographical, political, and literary history in a seamless and approachable fashion to explain not only how white men’s countries came about, but how “non-white” peoples resisted
Matthew Rohn
Jul 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book does a lot of things very well - a careful balance between intellectual and political history of race, contextualizing conflict as existing largely between white settler colonies and nonwhite colonies as the frontiers of interracial contact, useful periodization running from the mid\late 1800s through the end of WWII and the universal declaration of human rights, and the recentering of Western racial thinking away from the Atlantic. Drawing the Global Colour Line isn't perfect but is a ...more
Eric Bottorff
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
The reason that the movement against racism and white supremacy must be global is because the forces trying to fight for racism and white supremacy are also global. This books brilliantly details a crucial turning point in that history, at which whiteness really solidified itself as a transnational identity category.
Jan 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
Another selection for HST 301: Graduate Historiography in Fall 2013. I really liked the effort to integrate US, Australian, and South African (plus a little New Zealand and Canadian) approaches to race-based exclusion. I thought the book was effective in showing the global circulation and reception of texts and intellectuals, activists, and politicians. I wasn't wholly sold on the exhaustiveness of the research, and I didn't see any methodological notes; they do acknowledge that they're doing a ...more
Feb 06, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Historians
Recommended to Azure by: Class requirement
Shelves: college-books
This book is well written. However, some of the correlations are stretches and the cherry-picking of data (such as club membership and the leading 'scholarship' information) is a little alarming and misguiding. Regardless, it makes a very good argument for race relations being at the heart of many issues at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a good reminder as to why race relations are tough to broach even today in a world completely submerged in transnational policy. In addition, it gives ...more
Madeline Johnston
I had the pleasure of not only studying this book in 2014, but meeting Henry Reynolds as well. This is a wonderful piece of work, as it places Australia and its development into an international context. It teaches readers the impact of both Asia and America on the development of Australia, its society and its constitution; as well as how Australia's status as the social laboratory of the world impacted the development of New Zealand, Canada and the United States of America. Perfect for anyone i ...more
May 19, 2012 added it
Shelves: faves
Bloody excellent. The depth of research is incredible. This book gives one a deep understanding of the moves to define white and 'non' white peoples of the world over the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in regards to so called 'white men's countries' in the British dominions and California. Draws together a lot of history that is well known and places it within a new and dynamically improtant paradigm. Also an easy and engrossing read. An important book. ...more
Nov 08, 2013 rated it it was ok
Does show simultaneous development of political/elite thought on Asian immigration in the Anglo-British world, but doesn't define terms, not global, doesn't explore gender/class. Only English-language sources, and only elite Anglo-Saxon idea of Whiteness, which isn't even nuanced by developments in Britain or several other parts of the empire. Easy to read though. ...more
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Marilyn Lake, AO, is Professorial Fellow in History at the University of Melbourne.

Other books in the series

Critical Perspectives on Empire (1 - 10 of 21 books)
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  • The Imperial Security State: British Colonial Knowledge and Empire-Building in Asia
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  • Colonization and the Origins of Humanitarian Governance: Protecting Aborigines Across the Nineteenth-Century British Empire
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