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Reading Suggestions

Students will often ask what are some good readings to prepare for this module - or, particularly as this is such an important/contemporary subject, will ask for good 'starting points'. The readings below are recommended as giving introductions or overviews of many of the topics discussed in this module. Those that are available electronically through Warwick library are highlighted in bold.

A full and detailed reading list can be found on the module's Talis Reading List page.

For the U.S. context, I'd suggest taking a look at Dr Lydia Plath's module 'America in Black and White? Contemporary US Race and Racism in Historical Context'.

Good starting points:

  • Reni Eddo-Lodge, Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race - an excellent starting point for this topic.
  • Akala, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire - highlighting Britain's denial and problematic relationship with its imperial history.
  • Maya Goodfellow, Hostile Environment: How Immigrants Became Scapegoats - a good overview of the 'Windrush scandal'.
  • Ron Ramdin, Reimaging Britain: Five Hundred Years of Black and Asian History - a good overview of the histories of Black and Asian people in Britain.
  • Paul Gilroy, There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack: The Cultural Politics of Race and Nation - a very influential book published in 1987, exploring racial discourses in Britain.

Where to continue:

  • Hakim Adi (ed.), Black British History: New Perspectives from Roman Times to the Present Day.
  • Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Who Do We Think We Are? Imagining the New Britain.
  • Humayun Ansari, ‘The Infidel Within’: Muslims in Britain since 1800.
  • Peter Fryer, Staying Power: The History of Black People in Britain.
  • Andrew Geddes, The Politics of Immigration and Race.
  • Dilip Hiro, Black British, White British.
  • Colin Holmes, John Bull’s Island: Immigration and British Society, 1871-1971.
  • Tony Kushner, The Battle of Britishness: Migrant Journeys, 1685 to the Present.
  • Zig Layton-Henry, The Politics of Immigration: Immigration, ‘Race’ and ‘Race’ Relations in Post-War Britain.
  • Louise London, Whitehall and the Jews, 1933-1948: British Immigration Policy, Jewish Refugees and the Holocaust.
  • Robert Miles and Annie Phizacklea (eds), White Man’s Country: Racism in British Politics.
  • Panikos Panayi, An Immigration History of Britain: Multicultural Racism since 1800.
  • Kathleen Paul, Whitewashing Britain: Race and Citizenship in the Postwar Era.
  • Mike Phillips and Trevor Phillips, Windrush: the Irresistible Rise of Multi-racial Britain.
  • Bill Schwarz, The White Man's World.
  • John Solomos, Race and Racism in Britain.
  • Ian Spencer, British Immigration Policy since 1939: The Making of Multi-Racial Britain.
  • Paul Ward, Britishness since 1870.
  • Richard Weight and Abigail Beach (eds), The Right to Belong: Citizenship and National Identity in Britain, 1930-1960.
  • Robert Winder, Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain.

Some important 'classic works' for this subject:

  • Ambalavaner Sivanandan, Catching History on the Wing: Race, Culture and Globalisation.
  • Ron Ramdin, The Making of the Black Working Class in Britain.
  • Walter Rodney, How Europe Underdeveloped Africa.
  • Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.
  • Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks / The Wretched of the Earth.
  • W. E. B. Du Bois, The Souls of Black Folk.
  • C. L. R. James, The Black Jacobins.

Primary source collections:

  • David Englander, A Documentary history of Jewish immigrants in Britain, 1840-1920.
  • Peter Leese, Beata Piatek, and Izabela Curyllo-Klag (eds), The British Migrant Experience 1700-2000: An Anthology.
  • Panikos Panayi, The Impact of Immigration: A Documentary History of the Effects and Experiences of Immigrants in Britain since 1945.
  • Modern Record Centre (Warwick), digitised documents relating to migration, policing, employment, community activism, etc.:
  • The Black Cultural Archives, the only national heritage centre dedicated to collecting, preserving and celebrating the histories of African and Caribbean people in Britain:
  • Legacies of British Slave-Ownership, a database of claims for compensation (by former enslavers for a loss of income) following the abolition of slavery in 1830s:
  • Interviews conducted by the Birmingham Black Oral History Project:
  • Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s-1990s:
  • British Pathé have lots of interviews/reports/etc.– for example, the collections on ‘black Britain’ ( – but there is a lot of sources that you can find through searching their catalogue:
  • Mass Observation Online has lots of material related to life in Britain, including ideas of national identity, race, etc.: