Faculty of Arts


Racial Histories

Please note: this is archived course information from 2017 for HISTORY 111.


This course explores the historical construction of "race" in Aotearoa New Zealand and in the USA in a comparative fashion.  We ask how claims and assumptions about "racial" difference among different peoples have developed and changed over time. The experiences of Maori, European settlers, and Chinese and Pacific immigrants in Aotearoa New Zealand are studied, as are those of Native Americans, African Americans, Irish Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino Americans in the USA. While we are concerned with how race has structured inequalities and injustices, past and present, we are also attuned to how cultures and solidarities based on racial understandings have empowered different groups and peoples. Topics include changing understandings of race and ethnicity, culture and identity, politics and policy in the context of colonial expansion and settlement, immigration, urbanisation, economic/labour systems, including slavery, and citizenship and social movement struggles from 1600 to the present day.

Availability 2017

Not taught in 2017


Coordinator(s) Associate Professor Jennifer Frost
Lecturer(s) Dr Hirini Kaa


T. H. Breen, ‘The “Giddy Multitude”: Race and Class in Early Virginia’, in Ronald Takaki, ed., From Different Shores: Perspectives on Race and Ethnicity in America, 2nd ed., New York, 1994, pp. 107-117.

M. P. K. Sorrenson, ‘How to Civilize Savages: Some Answers from Nineteenth-century New Zealand’, New Zealand Journal of History, 9, 2, 1975, pp.97-110 Theda Perdue, ‘Cherokee Women and the Trail of Tears’, in Vicki L. Ruiz and Ellen Carol DuBois, eds., Unequal Sisters: A Multicultural Reader in U.S. Women’s History, 3rd ed., New York, 2000, 93-104.

Claudia Orange, An Illustrated History of the Treaty of Waitangi, Wellington, 2004, pp.24-45; and texts of the Treaty of Waitangi and Tiriti o Waitangi John Higham, ‘Patterns in the Making’, in Strangers in the Land: Patterns of American Nativism, 1860-1925, New York, 1985, 3-11.

Melissa Williams, ‘A Death-Defying Circus Act? Post-war Maori Policy, 1945-1960’, Panguru and the City: Kainga Tahi, Kainga Rua, Wellington, 2015, pp.69-100 Alice Yang Murray, ‘The Internment of Japanese Americans,’ in Murray, ed., What did the Internment of Japanese Americans Mean? Boston, 2000, pp. 3-19 T.V. Reed, ‘Revolutionary Walls: Chicano/a Murals, Chicano/a Movements’, in The Art of Protest: Culture and Activism from the Civil Rights Movement to the Streets of Seattle, Minneapolis, 2005, pp. 103-128.

Aroha Harris, Hīkoi: Forty Years of Māori Protest, Wellington, 2004, pp.10-31.


(1) Document Analysis Essay, 1000 words (20%)
(2) Essay, 1,500 words (30%)
(3) Examination, 2 hours, (50%)


HISTORY 111: 15.0 points

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