Race & Ethnicity

Race and ethnicity are social constructs, not biological categories.  They are the product of history, made and remade over time. As historians, we seek to understand how these social categories are constructed and put to use, how racial and ethnic identities are lived and experienced, and how they intersect with other collective identities, such as classgender, nationality, and region.  The history of race and ethnicity is inexorably tied to histories of political and economic powerlabor and class struggle, and cultural production and expression. By studying race and ethnicity relationally, and by incorporating racial and ethnic formation and perspectives into other categories of analysis, we acquire a deeper understanding of social and cultural interactions, the distribution and contestation of power, and political action and social mobilization.

The Corcoran Department of History has considerable strengths in this sub-field as well as a number of resources for scholars and students. Faculty members have researched and written on racial politics and labor organizing in the Jim Crow South; race, real estate, and housing in the metropolitan United States; racism and the environment; whiteness and segregation culture; music, cultural expression, and racial identities; and slavery and capitalism.  We offer courses on the Civil Rights Movement, Black Power, Race and Real Estate in the US, the Jim Crow Era, Race and Inequality, African American Music, and the Struggle for Racial Equality at UVA.  Members of our department are affiliated with the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies and the Americas Center/Centro de las Américas.


Associate Professor of German and History, Director, European Studies Program, Director, Center for German Studies
Nau 255
Office Hours: Tuesdays 9:00am-11:00pm, and by appointment
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Environmental History, Genocide & Violence, Intellectual History & History of Ideas, Jewish History, Political History, Race & Ethnicity, Transnational and Diplomatic History
Associate Professor, Brockman Foundation Jefferson Scholars Foundation Professor
Nau 384
Office Hours: Fall 2020: On leave
Themes: Empire & Colonialism, History of Slavery, Legal History, Race & Ethnicity
Nau 238
Office Hours: T/Th 11:30am-12:15pm, 1:45pm-2:15pm, & by appointment
Themes: Economic History & History of Capitalism, Legal History, Race & Ethnicity
Arnold H. Leon Professor of Law and Dean of the School of Law, Professor of History
Law WB 389
Office Hours: F 12:00 - 1:30
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Labor History, Legal History, Race & Ethnicity
Commonwealth Professor of American Studies and History
283 Nau Hall
Office Hours: contact me via email
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Digital Humanities, Race & Ethnicity, Women, Gender, & Sexuality
Assistant Professor
352 Nau Hall
Office Hours: Spring 2021: Tuesdays, 10:00am - 12:00pm, and by appointment
Themes: Economic History & History of Capitalism, History of Slavery, Legal History, Race & Ethnicity
David Dean 21st Century Professor of Asian Studies & Professor of History
Nau 438
Office Hours: By Appointment
Themes: Political History, Race & Ethnicity, Spatial History, Frontiers, & Migration, Transnational and Diplomatic History
Louis Nelson
Professor of Architectural History, Associate Dean in the School of Architecture
Themes: Cultural and Social History, Empire & Colonialism, History of Slavery, Material Culture, Race & Ethnicity
Kirt von Daacke
Assistant Dean, Associate Professor of History
202 Monroe Hall
Office Hours: By appointment
Themes: Cultural and Social History, History of Slavery, Race & Ethnicity

Graduate Student