Black Metaphors

How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking—and Why It Matters

Published 2019

On November 1, 2019, Cord Whitaker, Friends of the Institute for Advanced Study Member in the School of Historical Studies, gave the talk "Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking—and Why It Matters." 

Whitaker investigated the value of the Middle Ages to race and racism by exploring modern understandings of feudalism, caste systems, and racial homogeny in medieval Europe, and identified and explored the integral role of the Middle Ages in the development of modern racial ideology. How did the Middle Ages make race? And how can we use that knowledge to disempower racism and make the world better?

Watch Whitaker's talk in the window above, or on the IAS YouTube channel.

Read an excerpt from Whitaker's recent book Black Metaphors: How Modern Racism Emerged from Medieval Race-Thinking (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2019), published in the Institute Letter Fall 2019, at this link.