The Social Constructions of Race: A Discussion with Brigitte Fielder


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Welcome to The Academic Life. You are smart and capable, but you aren’t an island, and neither are we. So we reached across our mentor network to bring you podcasts on everything from how to finish that project, to how to take care of your beautiful mind. Wish we’d bring in an expert about something? Email us at cgessler05(at) or dr.danamalone(at) or find us on Twitter: The Academic Life @AcademicLifeNBN.

In this episode you’ll hear about: the importance of expanding the boundaries of academic theory through interdisciplinary studies, why you need to build and acknowledge your own support network, the social construction of race and racism, and a discussion of the book Relative Races.

Our guest is: Dr. Brigitte Fielder, an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is (with Jonathan Senchyne) co-editor of Against a Sharp White Background: Infrastructures of African-American Print and author of Relative Races: Genealogies of Interracial Kinship in Nineteenth-Century America. Her work has been published in various journals and edited collections. She is currently writing a book on racialized human-animal relationships in the long nineteenth century, which shows how childhood becomes a key site for (often simultaneous) humanization and racialization.

Our host is: Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women and gender.

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