Defining Difference: Race and Racism in the History of Psychology

Defining Difference is the first book to bring together recent scholarship on the history of psychology and race. Throughout the history of the field, psychological discourse has been shaped by social concerns, and its discourse on race is no exception. Psychologists have both promoted and fought against racism, and a nuanced historical account requires analysis of both dimensions. The contributors seek to understand the relationship between the changes in the field and broader social change by mapping the changing discourse for “defining difference” through race.

Topics covered include essentialism and the history of the concept of race, ideas of race in the work of nineteenth-century and twentieth-century psychologists, psychological discourse on topics such as “mixed-race” people, political uses of racial research, changes in textbook presentations of race and intelligence, and international perspectives on psychology and race. Contributors also examine the prominence and persistence of American research on racial differences in intelligence as well as the work of Kenneth Clark and Horace Mann Bond in combating racism in science and society. This important volume increases readers’ understanding of the link between racial studies and social attitudes in our time and, at the same time, provides a comprehensive examination of that link throughout history.

Andrew S. Winston is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and a Fellow of the History of Psychology Division of the American Psychological Association.