Race and ethnicity
The chapter gives a synopsis of the ways in which accounting historians have studied the complex interplay between accounting, race and ethnicity. A major objective of the chapter will be to critically assess accounting history’s progress in the area, giving particular emphasis to assessing its overall contribution to the socio-scientific study of racial and ethnic phenomena. Motivated by the overall objective of identifying directions for future accounting history research, the chapter will also sketch the broad contours of racial and ethnic studies, highlighting the growing importance of historical research to the field. The chapter will be organised as follows. Its introductory section argues that the increasing salience of racial and ethnic phenomena throughout the modern world calls for greater scholarly attention to the manner in which race and ethnicity have been historically constituted, thereby reinforcing the critical and contemporary significance of historical studies in general and historical studies of racial and ethnic identity construction in particular. Also discussed here is the conceptual distinctiveness between race and ethnicity – two concepts that still are confusingly and interchangeably used by accounting historians. In the second section a review of the small universe of historical research in accounting that takes on race as its central theme is undertaken. The literature is structured around four themes and some of the underdeveloped lines of inquiry within each of these areas are identified. The final section addresses the narrowness of the field of inquiry of race and ethnicity in accounting and points to three shifts of focus which might yield fruitful research outcomes and so enhance accounting history’s contribution to the wider study of race and ethnicity.