March 7, 2002 – David Roediger: “Crossing Over: White Supremacy and the Transcendence of Race”

Thursday, March 7 | Oakes Mural Room | 4:00 PM


Few scholars can be said to have transformed our thinking as deeply as David Roediger, whose now-classic book, The Wages of Whiteness: Race and the Making of the American Working Class (Verso, 1991), inspired the field of “whiteness studies.” Roediger underscored the psychological as well as economic benefits of race privilege enjoyed by white workers in the nineteenth century. In so doing, he challenged scholars and activists to reframe our understanding of race as a white problem — a set of practices, ideologies, and institutions in which white people in the U.S. have been deeply invested. Roediger deepened his analysis in Toward the Abolition of Whiteness: Essays on Race, Politics and Working Class History(Verso, 1994). Since then, he has edited a collection of African American voices on white privilege, Black on White: Black Writers on What It Means to Be White (1998) and published, with James Barrett, a much-cited article, “In between Peoples: Race, Nationality and the ‘New Immigrant’ Working Class” (Journal of American Ethnic History, Spring, 1997). In his talk at UC Santa Cruz, he will offer a glimpse of his about-to-be published sequel to The Wages of Whiteness. Professor Roediger is Kendrick C. Babcock Professor of History at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana. Arizona State University, Tempe