About the Book

Race in North America

Race in North America

Origin and Evolution of a Worldview
4th Edition
July 2011
Trade Paperback · 400 Pages
$47.00 U.S. · $54.50 CAN · £31.99 U.K. · €33.99 E.U.
ISBN 9780813345543
Westview Press


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In a sweeping work that traces the idea of race for more than three centuries, Audrey Smedley shows that “race” is a cultural invention that has been used variously and opportunistically since the eighteenth century. Race, in its origin, was not a product of science but of a folk ideology reflecting a new form of social stratification and a rationalization for inequality among the peoples of North America.
New coauthor Brian Smedley joins Audrey Smedley in updating this renowned and groundbreaking text. The fourth edition includes a compelling new chapter on the health impacts of the racial worldview, as well as a thoroughly rewritten chapter that explores the election of Barack Obama and the evolving role of race in American political history. This edition also incorporates recent findings on the human genome and the implications of genomics. Drawing on new understandings of DNA expression, the authors scrutinize the positions of contemporary race scientists who maintain that race is a valid biological concept.

About the Authors

Audrey Smedley is professor emerita of anthropology and African American studies at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her books include Women Creating Patriliny: Gender and Environment in West Africa and Race in North America: Origin and Evolution of a Worldview, which won an outstanding book award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights. She is also the author of the American Anthropology Association’s position paper on race, Encyclopedia Britannica’s materials on race and racism, and elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Brian D. Smedley holds a PhD in psychology from UCLA and is vice president and director of the Health Policy Institute of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, a think tank in Washington, D.C. He has also served as research director and cofounder of The Opportunity Agenda, senior program officer at the Institute of Medicine, and director for public interest policy at the American Psychological Association.