School of Racism

A Canadian History, 1830–1915

Catherine Larochelle (Author), S.E. Stewart (Translator)


Exposing the history of racism in Canada’s classrooms

Winner of the prestigious Clio-Quebec, Lionel-Groulx, and Canadian History of Education Association awards

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 extends its crucial lesson to readers worldwide, bridging English- and French-Canadian histories to deliver a better understanding of Canada’s past and present identity.

Guided by 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 materials made their way into curricula across the country and contained textual and visual representations that constructed Indigenous, Black, Arab, and Asian peoples as “the Other” while reinforcing the collective identity of Quebec, and Canada more broadly, as white.

School of Racism uncovers the ways 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. Offering insights into how concepts of nationalism and racism overlap, Larochelle’s innovative analysis helps educators confront discrimination in their classrooms and furthers discussions about race and colonialism in Canada.


"The elixir to combating racism, in a very Murray-Sinclair-esque way, is through education. Larochelle sees contemporary public education as a means to bring people together, expose children to deep thinking, empathy and ethical reasoning. A tremendous repurposing, then, of public education and a reason to support it, now more than ever—a call to action for all teachers."

Matt Henderson, Winnipeg Free Press


Wilson Institute Book Prize (2024)

About the Authors

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 Persistance coloniale and is interested in the different ways history is written and disseminated in Quebec.

S.E. Stewart has translated poetry, plays, film scripts and fiction, as well as various non-fiction texts on literary, performing, visual and media arts. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and studied translation at the Université Laval.

Table of Contents

Author’s Note


Ch 1: The Theories of Otherness

Ch 2: Other Societies: Imperialist Knowledges and Orientalist Representations

Ch 3: The Other-Body or Alterity Inscribed in the Flesh

Ch 4: The Indian: Domination, Erasure and Appropriation

Ch 5: The Other Observed or “Teaching Through the Eyes”

Ch 6: Of Missions and Emotions: Children and the Missionary Mobilization





List of Abbreviations