Critical Race Theory and Scholarly Analyses of Race in France

10 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2021 Last revised: 13 Dec 2021

Date Written: September 2, 2021


This preface to a special issue on Race and the Law of La Revue des Droits de l'Homme, presents a genealogy of Critical Race Theory, framed in light of the tendency in France to avoid fulsome scholarly discussions of racial identity, racial inequality and racial attitudes. The preface also frames its genealogy in light of political attacks on CRT that have been launched both in the United States and elsewhere in the world. Its genealogy frames the origins of CRT in the context of increased scholarly interest in race as a social construction during the 1980s and 1990s, and in the additional context of 1970s, 80s, and 90s scholarship that questioned universalizing and colorblind legal regimes of nations that purported to guarantee equality without regard to race. It also locates CRT within the larger universe of Critical Theory, including Critical Legal Studies, and examines concepts such as social construction, intersectionality, whiteness, structural racism and identity performance.

Keywords: Critical Race Theory, Race and the Law, Intersectionality, Whiteness, Critical Legal Studies, Equal Protection, Social Construction, Structural Racism, Identity Performance

JEL Classification: 130, N92

Suggested Citation

Mack, Kenneth W., Critical Race Theory and Scholarly Analyses of Race in France (September 2, 2021). Harvard Public Law Working Paper No. 21-43, Available at SSRN: or

Kenneth W. Mack (Contact Author)

Harvard Law School ( email )

1525 Massachusetts Ave.
404 Griswold Hall
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-495-5473 (Phone)
617-496-5156 (Fax)


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