School of Racism
A Canadian History, 1830–1915
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