European Racism: A History in Documents
(From the Broadview Sources Series)
  • Publication Date: June 12, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781554814855 / 1554814855
  • 352 pages; 7" x 9"

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European Racism: A History in Documents

(From the Broadview Sources Series)

  • Publication Date: June 12, 2024
  • ISBN: 9781554814855 / 1554814855
  • 352 pages; 7" x 9"

European Racism collects more than 130 primary sources—from religious tracts, legal codes, and government edicts, to novel excerpts, paintings, illustrations, and songs—to help readers trace the development and spread of racism in Europe from the Middle Ages to the present day.

The volume is organized into six sections revealing how Europeans developed racist attitudes toward various groups: Jews, Muslims, Black Africans, Asians, the Romani, and global Indigenous Peoples. Sources demonstrate how racism intersects with gender roles, sexual identities, economic status, religious affiliation, national origin, and military alliances, and include examples of historical anti-racist resistance.

There is a general volume introduction and six section introductions, and 42 illustrations; brief headnotes accompany each document; and marginal glossing throughout helps students with unfamiliar references and terminology. An alternative table of contents presents documents chronologically.


“This superb and wide-ranging collection demonstrates how racist discourses never emerge in isolation but feed and bleed on one other. Science, religion, and humanitarian care are all invoked in overtly high-minded rationales supporting programs of protection and purification, but the underlying motivations are consistently low, violent, purgative, and exploitative. The editors have sourced pamphlets, letters, laws, treatises, images, and news reports across the range of subjects and periods to show how these ideas spread across genres and periods. Each section and document is carefully framed with explanations that clarify terms and contexts, identify antecedents, parallels, and outcomes, and demonstrate how Europeans constructed, projected, and weaponized ‘race’ from the ancient to the modern period. An indispensable resource for anyone wanting to understand, research, or teach how Europeans have thought, written, and acted on race.” — Nicholas Terpstra, University of Toronto

“A timely and useful collection of documents that span an enormous range and offer a comprehensive accounting of the varieties of racism perpetrated in Europe over hundreds of years. Well-chosen documents and clearly written introductions make this an ideal companion for teaching and a valuable resource for students.” — Philippa Levine, The University of Texas at Austin

Chronological Table of Contents
Questions to Consider

Part 1: Racism Against Jewish Peoples

  • Introduction
  • 1. From John 8:31–34, 42–52, 58–59, 18:33–40, 19:1–7, 12, 14–16 (Revised Standard Version)
  • 2. From Thomas of Monmouth, “The Life and Miracles of St. William of Norwich” (c. 1173)
  • 3. Image: Crucifixion of William of Norwich, from a Church in Loddon, UK (15th Century)
  • 4. From the Bull of Pope Gregory X (7 October 1272)
  • 5. Example of a Purity of Blood Law: Anonymous, Sentencia-Estatuto de Toledo (1449)
  • 6. Image: Woodcut Portraying the 1475 Death of Simon of Trent (1493)
  • 7. From Martin Luther, On the Jews and Their Lies (1543)
  • 8. From Edward Nicholas, An Apology for the Honorable Nation of the Jews (1648)
  • 9. From William Prynne, A Short Demurrer to the Jewes (1656)
  • 10. From D.L., Israel’s Condition and Cause Pleaded (1656)
  • 11. From Jan Jacob Mauricius, Account of a Ritual Murder Accusation in Nijmegen (1715)
  • 12. Image: The Judensau, from Eighteenth-Century Frankfurt
  • 13. From Frederick Wilhelm III, King of Prussia, “Edict Concerning the Civil Status of the Jews in the Prussian State” (1812)
  • 14. Image: Thomas Rowlandson, Ladies Trading on Their Own Bottom or Solomon Enjoys Himself with Two Pretty Christian Girls (1810)
  • 15. From Mary Antin, “A Little Jewish Girl in the Russian Pale” (1890)
  • 16. Images: Émile Courtet, Jewish Virtues According to Gall’s Method (1893) and Photograph of Alfred Dreyfus (1894)
  • 17. “Jewish Massacre Denounced: East Side Mass Meeting Plans to Help the Victims of Russians in Kishinev” (1903)
  • 18. From Thomas Athol Joyce and Northcote W. Thomas, Women of All Nations. A Record of Their Characteristics, Habits, Manners, Customs, and Influence (1909)
  • 19. Julius Streicher, “The Murderous People” (1934)
  • 20. Images: Pages from the Children’s Storybook The Poisonous Mushroom and the Board Game “Jews Out!” (1938)
  • 21. From Eta Fuchs Berk, Chosen: A Holocaust Memoir (1992)
  • 22. From “Conversation with Shaul Ladany, an Olympian Who Survived the Holocaust and the Munich Massacre” (2020)
  • 23. “Anti-Semitism Continues to Mar Presidential Politics in Poland” (1990)

Part 2: Racism Against Muslim Peoples

  • Introduction
  • 24. A Spanish Muslim, Ibn Hawqal, Comments on Sexual Relations between Muslim Men and Christian Women (10th century)
  • 25. Anonymous, Here after Follows a Little Treatise against Mahumet and His Cursed Sect (1530)
  • 26. From Martin Luther, On War against the Turks (1529)
  • 27. From Desiderius Erasmus of Rotterdam, On War against the Turks (De bello turcico) (1530)
  • 28. From Henrick van Haestens and Christoffel von Sichem, Abominations of the Foremost Head Heretics (1608)
  • 29. Ahmad bin Qasim (al-Hajari) in France, 1611–13: A Muslim Responds
  • 30. From Henrick van Haestens, Abomination of the Head Heretics (1658)
  • 31. From Book of a Thousand Questions (1657)
  • 32. From Cornelius Hazart, Church History of the Entire World (1671)
  • 33. From John Hughes, The Siege of Damascus. A Tragedy (1720)
  • 34. From Voltaire, Mahomet: The Impostor (1796)
  • 35. Charles Wesley, Sun of Unclouded Righteousness (1758)
  • 36. Images: Jean-Léon Gérôme, Pool in a Harem (1876) and Snake Charmer (1879)
  • 37. Eliza Fay, “Letter: On Board Ship, in the Red Sea, Near Suez,” Original Letters from India (1779)
  • 38. Image: Russian Anti-Turkish World War I Propaganda Poster, “Turkish Cowardice and Valiant Prowess” (1914)
  • 39. Correspondence about Moulvi Sadruddin, Imam of the Woking Mosque, and the Burial of Muslim Soldiers in England (1915)
  • 40. From Mahfoud Rezigat, “It Was a Horrible Night” (1961)
  • 41. The Heidelberg Circle, “Heidelberg Manifesto” (1982)
  • 42. Image: Jochen Eckel, The Solingen Arson Attack (1993)
  • 43. From “The Courage of a Mother: Kadefa Rizvanović” (1992–95)
  • 44. “UN Rights Chief ‘Appalled’ at Recent Treatment of Refugees, Migrants by Hungarian Authorities” (2015)
  • 45. Hillary Margolis, “Denmark’s Face Veil Ban Latest in Harmful Trend” (2018)
  • 46. United Nations Secretary-General’s Video Message on the International Day to Combat Islamophobia (2021)

Part 3: Racism Against Black Peoples

  • Introduction
  • 47. Image: The “Blemmyes,” a European Image of Africans (c. 1400s)
  • 48. From George Best, A True Discourse of the Late Voyage of Discovery (1578)
  • 49. Elizabeth I, “An Open Letter to the Lord Mayor of London” (1596)
  • 50. From Odoardo Lopez, A Report of the Kingdom of Congo (1597)
  • 51. From Johan Isaksson Pontanus, Historical Description of the Very Widely Famed Merchant City of Amsterdam (1614)
  • 52. Pieter Jansz Twisck’s Story of the Black Moor and the Jesuit, from History of the Fall of Tyranny (1620)
  • 53. From Sir Thomas Herbert, A Relation of Some Years Travel … into Africa and the Greater Asia … (1634)
  • 54. From A True Relation of the Inhumane and Unparallel’d Actions, and Barbarous Murders of Negroes or Moors: Committed on Three English-men in Old Calabar in Guinny (1672)
  • 55. From George Keith, An Exhortation and Caution to Friends Concerning Buying or Keeping of Negroes (1693)
  • 56. From Edward Long, The History of Jamaica (1774)
  • 57. William Cowper, The Negro’s Complaint: A Poem (1788)
  • 58. Olaudah Equiano Describes Conditions on a Slave Ship Crossing the Atlantic, in The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano (1789)
  • 59. Society for the Friends of Blacks in Paris, “Address to the National Assembly for the Abolition of the Trade in Blacks” (1790)
  • 60. Image: Advertisement, Just Arrived from London … the Hottentot Venus: The Only One Ever Exhibited in Europe (c. 1810)
  • 61. Image: Advertisement, A Black Man Buying Some of J. Morison’s Pills, Hoping They Will Make Him White (c. 1825)
  • 62. Image: From Josiah Clark Nott and George Gliddon, Types of Mankind or Ethnological Researches, Based upon the Ancient Monuments, Paintings, Sculptures, and Crania of Races, and upon the Natural, Geographical, Philological and Biblical History (1854)
  • 63. From Arthur de Gobineau, The Inequality of Human Races (1853–55)
  • 64. Image: Advertisement for the Zulu Kaffirs, or WILD MEN! of Africa: Maxos and Nonswenzo … Will Go through Their Wonderful and Extraordinary Performances at Each Exhibition (1861)
  • 65. Image: Advertisement for Pears’ Soap: Matchless for the Complexion (c. 1880)
  • 66. From Manuel Timbu, Eyewitness Account of Genocide in German South West Africa in Report on the Natives of South-West Africa and Their Treatment by Germany (1918)
  • 67. From Karl Pearson, National Life from the Standpoint of Science (1905)
  • 68. “A Plan to Highlight the Academic and Professional Accomplishments of ‘Coloured’ Men” (1913)
  • 69. From E.D. Morel, The Horror on the Rhine (1921)
  • 70. Image: Poster for a Degenerate Music Exhibition in Nazi Germany (1938)
  • 71. From Frantz Fanon, Black Skin, White Masks (1952)
  • 72. Enoch Powell, “Rivers of Blood” Speech (1968)
  • 73. Afrophobia in European School Curricula, European Network against Racism Shadow Report 2014–2015 (2015)

Part 4: Racism Against Asian Peoples

  • Introduction
  • 74. Marco Polo’s Account of Mongolian China, from “The Travels of Marco Polo” (c. 1295)
  • 75. From a Translated Spanish Pamphlet Called “News from China” (1577)
  • 76. From Peter Martyr d’Anghiera, The History of Travel in the West and East Indies, and Other Countries Lying Either Way (1577)
  • 77. From Jan Huyghen van Linschoten, His Discourse of Voyages into the East and West Indies (1598)
  • 78. From José de Acosta, The Natural and Moral History of the East and West Indies (1604)
  • 79. Image: From Johan Isaksson Pontanus, Historical Description of the Very Widely Famed Merchant City of Amsterdam (1614)
  • 80. From Cornelius Hazart, Church History of the Entire World (1671): A Netherlandic Jesuit’s Perspective on the Mongols (Tartars)
  • 81. From Louis de Gaya and Thomas Brown, Marriage Ceremonies (1703)
  • 82. Leaflet Advertising Appearances by “Two Chinese Ladies” in Elaborate National Costume, Singing and Playing Traditional Chinese Instruments (1826)
  • 83. Arthur de Gobineau on Characteristics of the “Yellow Race” in The Inequality of Human Races (1855)
  • 84. From Joseph Salter, The Asiatic in England: Sketches of Sixteen Years’ Work among Orientals (1873)
  • 85. From Fanny L. Rains, Travel Writings on Domestic Life in Singapore (1878)
  • 86. Image: French Political Cartoon by Henri Meyer, “China—the Cake of Kings and … of Emperors” (1898)
  • 87. From Pierre Loti, Carmen Sylva and Sketches from the Orient (1912)
  • 88. From P. Daryl Klein, Second Lieutenant in the World War I Chinese Labour Corps (1919)
  • 89. From George Orwell, Burmese Days (1934)
  • 90. Images: British Anti-Japanese Sentiment from World War II (1943–45)
  • 91. Susanné Seong-Eun Bergsten, “Abused and Shunned—Being of Asian Descent in Sweden during COVID-19” (2020)
  • 92. “Six Years a Slave: Indian Farm Workers Exploited in Italy” (2021)

Part 5: Racism Against Romani Peoples

  • Introduction
  • 93. Image: Colored Pen and Ink Illustration of the First Roma in Bern, Switzerland (1484)
  • 94. From King Henry VIII of England’s Statute against Egyptians (1530/31)
  • 95. From King Philip and Queen Mary of England, Egyptians Act (1554)
  • 96. Queen Elizabeth I of England, “For the Punishment of Vagabonds Calling Themselves Egyptians” (1563)
  • 97. From Thomas Dekker, Lanthorne and Candle-Light. Or The Bell-Mans Second (1609)
  • 98. From Samuel Rid, The Art of Juggling or Legerdemain (1612)
  • 99. From King George III of Great Britain, Repeal of the Egyptians’ Act (1783)
  • 100. “The Gipsies” (1816)
  • 101. From Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1831)
  • 102. Image: A Family of Gypsies Sit in Their Camp with a Child They Have Stolen (1840)
  • 103. Image: The Gypsy Fortune Teller, a Trading Card for Dr. Jayne’s Expectorant (c. 1870–90)
  • 104. From “Gypsies of Hungary” (1909)
  • 105. From Cesare Lombroso’s Criminological Classification of Romani as Atavistic Criminals in Criminal Man (1911)
  • 106. Heinrich Himmler, “Fighting the Gypsy Plague” (1938)
  • 107. Image: Anthropologist Eva Justin Creating a Plaster Cast on a Romani Man (1938)
  • 108. Holocaust Biographies of Maria Sava Moise and Stefan Moise (1943)
  • 109. Great Britain House of Commons Debate on Gypsies in Dartford (1962)
  • 110. Elena Gorolová Describes Her Forced Sterilization by the Czechoslovakian Government (2009)
  • 111. European Roma Rights Centre, “Mob Violence against Roma in Poland,” Roma Rights Journal (1997)
  • 112. Bernard Rorke, “A Spectre Is Haunting Europe—Spike in Anti-Roma Pogroms as EU Election Campaigns Kick Off” (2019)

Part 6: Racism Against Indigenous Peoples

  • Introduction
  • 113. Spanish Bishop Condemns Spanish Treatment of Indigenous Peoples: Bartolomé de las Casas, The Spanish Colony (1552, 1583)
  • 114. Image: Jodocus Hondius, Headless People of Guiana (1599)
  • 115. From Anonymous, Description of the Samoyeden Land in Tartary (1612)
  • 116. King Charles I’s Decree against Irish Beggars (1629)
  • 117. From Edmund Campion, Two Histories of Ireland (1633)
  • 118. Henry More on Indigenous Peoples of the Americas, from An Explanation of the Grand Mystery of Godliness (1660)
  • 119. From Georgius Hornius and Balthasar Bekker, Church History, from the Creation of the World until the Year of the Lord (1666, 1685)
  • 120. From Cristobal Acuna, Voyages and Discoveries in South-America (1698)
  • 121. From Denis Diderot, Supplement to Bougainville’s Voyage (1772)
  • 122. Image: Laplanders and Rein Deer as Exhibited at the Egyptian Hall, Piccadilly (1822)
  • 123. Charles Dickens on “The Noble Savage” (1853)
  • 124. From The Diary of Abraham Ulrikab (1880)
  • 125. From Dr. Rudolf Virchow, “Eskimos at the Berlin Zoo,” Zeitschrift für Ethnologie (1880)
  • 126. Images: Advertisements for The Black Prince: Best Tobacco London (c. 1700s), Warpath Tobacco (c. 1885), and a “Cigar Store Indian” (2006)
  • 127. From Benjamin Douglas Howard, Life with Trans-Siberian Savages (1893)
  • 128. From Strickland Constable, Ireland from One or Two Neglected Points of View (1899)
  • 129. From Paul Gauguin, Noa Noa. The Tahitian Journal (1901) and Image: Three Tahitian Women (1896)
  • 130. From James Bryce, “The Relations of the Advanced and the Backward Races of Mankind” (1902)
  • 131. 1925 Russian Commentary on the Giliak Peoples, from Bruce Grant, In the Soviet House of Culture: A Century of Perestroikas (1995)
  • 132. From Reginald Ruggles Gates, “The Australian Aborigines in a New Setting” (1960)
  • 133. United Nations, Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (2007)
  • 134. Nina Berglund, “Sámi Still Battling Discrimination” (2016)

Select Bibliography

Online Resources

Permissions Acknowledgements

Lisa M. Todd is Professor and Chair of Historical Studies at the University of New Brunswick. She is the author of Sexual Treason in Germany during the First World War and co-editor of A Cultural History of War in the Modern Age.

Gary K. Waite is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of New Brunswick. He is the author of several books, including Jews and Muslims in Seventeenth-Century Discourse: From Religious Enemies to Allies and Friends, and co-editor of Exile and Religious Identities, 1500–1800.

  • • 134 primary source documents spanning the Middle Ages to the present
  • • 42 black & white photographs and illustrations (photographs, political cartoons, book illustrations, magazine covers, paintings, advertisements, posters, and so on)
  • • Alternate table of contents presenting documents chronologically
  • • Headnotes for each document provide students with historical contexts, and marginal glossing throughout helps with unfamiliar references and terminology
  • • A general introduction and six section introductions shepherd students toward a recognition of racism’s pervasiveness throughout history—and of its enduring consequences
  • • “Questions to Consider” helps both to set the stage before reading and to aid in synthesis afterward