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26 August 2020

Press offers free access to a standing collection of scholarship on race and power

Cambridge University Press has launched a free, online collection of book chapters and journal articles addressing the complex relationships between race, racism and power.

Race and Power will offer a regularly updated selection of scholarship published by the Press, providing a long-term resource that’s freely available to anyone with an internet connection.

It has evolved from an earlier, temporary collection that was made available as a response to the killing of George Floyd and subsequent protests against the continuing racism faced by Black people. While that collection focussed on protests, policing and race, particularly in the United States, its successor casts its net wider, looking at the deep historical roots of racism and the different forms it takes around the world. The initial selection will look at the experiences of enslaved Africans and their descendants.

The Press’s Paris West, who played a key role in compiling the collection, said: “Colonisation and the trans-Atlantic slave trade are integral to the formation of the modern world. Their legacy is still with us, and ideas of race and racism are still used by those in power to maintain an often unfair status quo.

“The recent protests and unrest in the United States highlighted the corrosive effects of that racism, discrimination and injustice. One of the most important things that we can do as an academic publisher is not just voice outrage, but provide research and data to inform progress.

“Beyond simply publishing these works, our aim is to explore and engage with them. We want to increase knowledge and understanding and to give as many people as possible access to high quality scholarship that challenges widely and deeply held beliefs.”

Race and Power will be updated four times a year, with content that increasingly explores these issues across the globe and across disciplines. Subjects covered will include the legacies of colonialism; politics and social movements; slavery; health and medicine; economy, labour and inequality; cultural representation, and reckoning with the past.

The launch collection includes extracts from award-winning scholarship, including The Anger Gap by Davin Phoenix (Winner, 2020 Ralph J. Bunche Award, American Political Science Association), which looks at how race shapes emotion in politics; and White Identity Politics by Ashley Jardina (Joint winner, 2020 Robert E. Lane Award for the best book in political psychology, American Political Science Association), which explores how discontent at the increasing diversity in American society has led many white Americans to view politics through the lens of a racial identity.

Mandy Hill, Managing Director of Academic Publishing at the Press said: “We recently published our own commitment to change, which recognized that our publishing can and should be a strong, global voice against racism and for diversity and inclusion. That includes using our position as a global publisher to raise awareness and drive positive change. This collection is one small step towards that and I hope that people find it useful, informative, thought-provoking and empowering.”

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