University of Missouri, Columbia
October 11-12, 2018
Please submit a detailed abstract of your paper or panel to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 31, 2018
Individual paper proposals should be no more than 250 words. Panel proposals (including all paper titles and names of panelists) should be no more than 250 words. Additionally, please include a brief 250-word biographical statement or 2-page CV for each presenter with your proposal.
On October 11-12 2018, the Black Studies Department at Mizzou will host its annual Black Studies Fall Conference. This conference encourages critical dialogue among scholars, graduate students, thought leaders, and members of the policy community.
Within a generation, the US is projected to be a majority-minority (or race-plural) nation. How will these majority of minorities vote? What does this demographic trend mean for race and democracy in America? And how will it inform America’s fraying racial, economic, political, social fabric and exacerbate or heal its deep divisions?
While the African American Policy Forum touted this trend as a new possibility for applied intersectionality and coalition work, the looming fear that “demography is destiny” has fueled white nationalism’s revival. On the so-called alt-right, census projections are cited to show how white Americans are on the minority side of the demographic tide. These dwindling numbers have been linked to white Americans’ anxiety over loss of historical racial privilege and has translated into a rightward shift in political attitudes among white Americans on policies ranging from immigration to health care, from affirmative action to defense spending, as well as the Trump bump that was key to his 2016 electoral upset win.
But demography isn’t destiny. Trending population numbers will not alone produce a more socially just demographic advancing a policy agenda for African Americans and other historically vulnerable ethno-racial communities. Skeptical social demographers challenge the premise of this US majority-minority inevitably skewing Left; instead, social scientists contend Census forecasts underestimate the allure of assimilation into the white mainstream for mixed-race people, Asian Americans, and Latinxs, the fastest growing populations in the US. Simply because minorities and mixed-race populations are projected to be numerical US majorities does not always translate into the inevitability of self-identifying with people of color or support of a common cause around a core set of issues.
This conference will consider the following questions: What would US society and politics be like if a majority of these families had no wealth — no savings, no home equity, no investments of any kind? Given the economic insecurity for families of color and the fluidity of identity, how will they vote? Which racial and economic policies will they support? In what ways will coalition work expand or contract the democratic project/racial democracy? How will institutions, policies, (and America’s dwindling white population’s responses) expand or contract the democratic project? Looking back, what are the forgotten histories of alliance building? How might they serve as “best practices” or “cautionary tales” for current and future coalition work? Looking ahead, what are the moments and possibilities of (uplifted) intersectionality and coalitional work ahead of intersectional advocates? How might Black people—and the discipline of Black Studies—be central to this intersectional and coalitional work around changing demographics and challenging diminishing economic and political power for communities of color? How might this particular moment be leveraged to forge, maintain, cultivate, re/establish, re/kindle or build durable alliances or existing and newfound intersections?
Topics the conference considers/encourages:
- Voter suppression and dilution
- Demographic shifts and their impact on local, state, and national politics
- Intersectional analyses of the upcoming midterm and Presidential elections
- Policy interventions that might reverse trends
- Census debates
- Economic impacts of immigration (DACA, etc).
- Economic impacts of discriminating against queer, trans*, and disabled people of color
- Histories/best practices of coalitional racial activism and politics
- Mixed-race identity and demographics
- Resurgence of white nationalism and white supremacy
- Conservatism among people of color
- Economic impact of police brutality and criminal justice system on communities of color
- Demographic shifts and public health
- Demographics and the racial wealth gap
- Economic and political impact of women of color activism
- Racial debates within and about the #MeToo Movement
- Women of color in electoral politics
- Financial deregulation, changes in tax laws, and communities of color
- Hate crimes in the Trump era
- Media representations of majority-minority America
- Art addressing or depicting majority-minority America
Conference Organizer: Devin Fergus, Ph.D., Professor of Black Studies and History, University of Missouri (email@example.com)
Department Assistant: Mary Beth Brown, History Ph.D. Candidate, University of Missouri, (BroMary@missouri.edu)