Human history is marked by group and individual struggles for emancipation, equality and self-expression. This first volume in the Brill Research Perspectives in Comparative Discrimination Law briefly explores some of the history underlying these efforts in the field of discrimination law. A broad discussion of the historical development of issues of discrimination is first set out, looking at certain international, regional and national bases for modern discrimination legal structures. The national frameworks examined are the United States, the United Kingdom and Sweden, focusing on the historical developments in each of the countries with respect to discrimination legislation. Several of the theoretical frameworks invoked in a comparative discrimination law analysis are then addressed, either as institutional frameworks or theories addressing specific protection grounds. These include access to justice, comparative law method, feminist legal theory, critical race theory, post-colonial theory, queer theory and intersectionality.