Race in American Television

Voices and Visions that Shaped a Nation

by David J. Leonard and Stephanie Troutman, Editors


The sitcom All in the Family (1971–1979) fundamentally changed the television landscape by making bigotry the central source and target of its humor.

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Cover image for Race in American Television

December 2020


Pages 899
Volumes 2
Size 7x10
Topics Race and Ethnicity/General
  Popular Culture/Media, Television, and Radio
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    Hardcover: £157.00/178,00€/A$292.00

This three-volume encyclopedia explores representations of people of color in American television. It includes overview essays on early, classic, and contemporary television and the challenges, developments, and participation of people of color on and behind the screen.

Covering five decades, this encyclopedia highlights the bidirectionality of how race has shaped television and how television has shaped society. Offering critical analysis of moments and themes throughout television history, Race in American Television shines a spotlight on key artists of color, prominent shows, and the debates that have defined television since the civil rights movement. This book also examines the ways in which television has been a site for both reproduction of stereotypes and resistance to them, providing a basis for discussion about American racial issues.

This set provides a significant resource for students and fans of television alike, not only educating but also empowering readers with the necessary tools to consume and watch the small screen and explore its impact on the evolution of racial and ethnic stereotypes in U.S. culture and beyond. Understanding the history of American television contributes to deeper knowledge and potentially helps us to better apprehend the plethora of diverse shows and programs on Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and other platforms today.


  • Offers accessible yet critical discussions of television culture
  • Provides historic understanding of the contributions of significant artists of color to the history of American television
  • Discusses a diversity of shows as well as debates and themes central to the history of American television
Author Info

David J. Leonard is professor in the School of Languages, Cultures, and Race at Washington State University, Pullman. He is author of several books, including Playing While White: Privilege and Power On and Off the Field (University of Washington Press, 2017), and After Artest: The NBA and the Assault on Blackness (SUNY Press, 2012). He is coeditor, with Kishonna Gray, of Woke Gaming: Digital Challenges to Oppression and Social Injustice (University of Washington Press, 2018), and of African Americans on Television: Race-ing for Ratings and several other books.

Stephanie Troutman is assistant professor in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Arizona. She is coauthor of Culture, Community and Educational Success: Reimagining the Invisible Knapsack (Lexington Press, 2018). She is author of multiple academic articles that focus on race, class, gender, schooling, and popular culture. Her scholarship has appeared in books such as The Sexuality Curriculum and Youth Culture (Peter Lang, 2011) and Interrogating Critical Pedagogy: The Voices of People of Color in the Movement (Routledge, 2015).

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America's Changing Neighborhoods cover image50 Events That Shaped American Indian History cover imageRace and Racism in the United States cover image

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