2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference

2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference

DePaul University
Student Center
2250 North Shefield Avenue
Chicago, Illinois
2012-11-01 through 2012-11-04

“What is Critical Mixed Race Studies?,” the biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, will be held at DePaul University in Chicago on November 1-4, 2012.

The CMRS conference brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines nationwide. Recognizing that the diverse disciplines that have nurtured Mixed Race Studies have fostered different approaches to the field, the 2012 CMRS conference is devoted to the general theme “What is Critical Mixed Race Studies?”
Critical Mixed Race Studies (CMRS) is the transracial, transdisciplinary, and transnational critical analysis of the institutionalization of social, cultural, and political orders based on dominant conceptions of race. CMRS emphasizes the mutability of race and the porosity of racial boundaries in order to critique processes of racialization and social stratification based on race. CMRS addresses local and global systemic injustices rooted in systems of racialization.

For more information, click here. View the final schedule here.

I will deliver my paper, “Barack, Blackness, Borders and Beyond: Exploring Obama’s Racial Identity Today as a Means of Transcending Race Tomorrow,” during the Session Three panel titled, “Assessing Mixed—Race Iconography: Barack Obama and Tiger Woods” from 14:15-15:45 CDT (Local Time) in Room 313.  The abstract of my paper is below:

The racial identity of President Barack Obama has been the topic of considerable discussion and debate. Despite the fact that Obama has always identified unambiguously as black—most significantly in March, 2010 after filling out his census form—commentary continues to the point of unilaterally referring to him as “biracial” within some camps.
Using three separate frameworks, I explain why Obama is indeed black.  Firstly, I show that Obama is black within the framework of self-identification as crafted by the multiracial identity movement. Secondly, I show via an ethnological framework that Obama’s heterogeneous ancestry reinforces rather than weakens his cultural connection with black Americans.  Lastly, and most importantly, I show within a sociological framework, that Obama is black because we perceive him as such.

Furthermore, I show how the multiracial movement reifies rather than blurs racialized boundaries; and that Obama’s blackness creates one of the greatest challenges to this movement.  Rather than concluding with a seemingly triumphalist Afro-centric focus, I will instead explain how Obama’s “blackness” from “white/black” parentage can be used to exemplify the social construction of race and can provide us a means to create meaningful discourses that may lead us beyond the illogical nature of racialization.

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