Skip to content
Register Sign in Wishlist

The Schematic State
Race, Transnationalism, and the Politics of the Census


Award Winner
  • Date Published: August 2018
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781107578784

£ 20.99

Add to cart Add to wishlist

Other available formats:
Hardback, eBook

Looking for an inspection copy?

This title is not currently available on inspection

Product filter button
About the Authors
  • By examining the political development of racial classifications on the national censuses of the United States, Canada, and Great Britain, The Schematic State maps the changing nature of the census from an instrument historically used to manage and control racial populations to its contemporary purpose as an important source of statistical information, employed to monitor and rectify racial discrimination. Through a careful comparative analysis of nearly two hundred years of census taking, it demonstrates that changes in racial schemas are driven by the interactions among shifting transnational ideas about race, the ways they are tempered and translated by nationally distinct racial projects, and the configuration of political institutions involved in the design and execution of census policy. This book argues that states seek to make their populations racially legible, turning the fluid and politically contested substance of race into stable, identifiable categories to be used as the basis of law and policy.

    • Presents a detailed, structured comparison of three countries over nearly two hundred years of census taking, and is also the only book on race and the census in both Canada and Great Britain
    • Develops a new theory about the relationship between race and the state, and also draws upon and contributes to a wide range of debates, including about racial politics, American political development, the role of ideas in politics, and the nature of statecraft
    • Will appeal to readers from a number of disciplines, including political science, history, sociology, demography, and Canadian/American/British politics, and will also be of interest to government agencies, international organizations, and NGOs involved in the design and execution of the census or the interpretation of census data
    Read more


    • Winner, 2017 Race and Comparative Politics Best Book Award, Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section, American Political Science Association

    Customer reviews

    Not yet reviewed

    Be the first to review

    Review was not posted due to profanity


    , create a review

    (If you're not , sign out)

    Please enter the right captcha value
    Please enter a star rating.
    Your review must be a minimum of 12 words.

    How do you rate this item?


    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2018
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781107578784
    • length: 327 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 150 x 19 mm
    • weight: 0.42kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Invitation
    2. Orientation
    3. Transnational biological racialism
    4. The death and resurrection of race
    5. The multicultural moment
    6. The multiracial moment
    7. The future of counting by race.

  • Author

    Debra Thompson, Northwestern University, Illinois
    Debra Thompson is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at Northwestern University, Illinois. She completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto in 2010 and served as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Postdoctoral Fellow with the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University, Massachusetts in 2010–11. In 2011 she received the prestigious Governor General of Canada's Academic Gold Medal, and her 2008 article 'Is Race Political?' won the Canadian Political Science Association's John McMenemy Prize for the best article published in the Canadian Journal of Political Science.


    • Winner, 2017 Race and Comparative Politics Best Book Award, Race, Ethnicity and Politics Section, American Political Science Association
    • Honourable mention, 2017 Robert L. Jervis and Paul W. Schroeder Best Book Award, International History and Politics Section, American Political Science Association
    • Winner, 2018 Seymour Martin Lipset Best Book Award, Canadian Politics Section, American Political Science Association

Sign In

Please sign in to access your account


Not already registered? Create an account now. ×

Sorry, this resource is locked

Please register or sign in to request access. If you are having problems accessing these resources please email

Register Sign in
Please note that this file is password protected. You will be asked to input your password on the next screen.

» Proceed

You are now leaving the Cambridge University Press website. Your eBook purchase and download will be completed by our partner Please see the permission section of the catalogue page for details of the print & copy limits on our eBooks.

Continue ×

Continue ×

Continue ×

Find content that relates to you

Join us online

This site uses cookies to improve your experience. Read more Close

Are you sure you want to delete your account?

This cannot be undone.


Thank you for your feedback which will help us improve our service.

If you requested a response, we will make sure to get back to you shortly.

Please fill in the required fields in your feedback submission.