School of Racism

A Canadian History, 1830–1915

Catherine Larochelle (Author)

In School of Racism, Catherine Larochelle demonstrates how Quebec’s school system has, from its inception and for decades, taught and endorsed colonial domination and racism. This English translation of the award-winning book extends its crucial lesson to readers across the country, bridging English- and French-Canadian histories to deliver a better understanding of Canada’s past and present identity.

Using postcolonial, antiracist, and feminist theories and methodologies, Larochelle examines late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century classroom materials used in Quebec’s public and private schools. Many of these textbooks, and others like them, made their way into curricula across Canada. Larochelle’s innovative analysis illuminates how textual and visual representations found in these archives constructed Indigenous, Black, Arab, and Asian peoples as “the Other” while reinforcing the collective identity of Quebec, and Canada more broadly, as white. Uncovering the origins and persistence of individual and systemic racism against people of colour, Larochelle shows how Otherness was presented to—and utilized by—young Canadians for almost a century.

School of Racism names the ways in which Canada’s education system has supported and sustained ideologies of white supremacy—ideologies so deeply embedded that they still linger in school texts and programming today. The book offers new insights into how Canadian and Québécois concepts of nationalism and racism overlap, helps educators confront racism in their classrooms, and deepens urgent discussions about race and colonialism throughout Canada.


  • WINNER, Québec CLIO Prize, Canadian Historical Association (2022)
  • WINNER, Best Book in French, Canadian Association for the History of Education (2022)
  • WINNER, Lionel-Groulx Prize, Institute of French American History (2022)

About the Author

Catherine Larochelle is a professor of history at the Université de Montréal and a member of HistoireEngagé’s editorial board. She is the co-host of the podcast is Persistance coloniale and is interested in the different ways history is written and disseminated in Quebec.

Other contributors: Translated by S.E. Stewart

Book Details

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    This forthcoming title will ship in December 2023.

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