Institutional Erasure of Race: Violence Across Time and Space

Alastair McClure's picture
October 4, 2018
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Colonial and Post-Colonial History / Studies, Ethnic History / Studies, Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Political Science, Race Studies

The Interdisciplinary Workshop

On October 4th, 2018, the working group on Institutional Erasure of Race: Violence across Time and Space will convene at University College London. The workshop is an attempt to study the different modes through which modern institutions have contributed towards structural violence in relation to racial discrimination. We are particularly interested in examining a modern shift that has seen race increasingly erased as a legitimate marker of difference in formal institutional discourse, while racial difference has simultaneously been consolidated in other spheres; at times camouflaged in public consciousness, at others operating through informal institutional or social practices.


Approaching this question from our various fields of anthropology, history and psychology, we are aware that such important and complex issues are insufficiently understood when examined through the confines of our independent disciplinary methodologies. We are thus explicitly multi-disciplinary and comparative in our outlook, and are seeking to bring together researchers across disciplines to be a part of a working group that will inspire critical reflections on this topic. We anticipate this will include scholars working in law, sociology, anthropology, history, psychology, public policy, political science, and critical race studies.


With this call, we invite all interested parties to join in the discussion. This is the second workshop to be held in our international series, with the first having taken place in Montreal, Canada, on May 31st, 2018. For more information on the first workshop, please consult


The following are some of the questions we will consider:


  1. How is the concept of race dismissed, obscured or negated, either in theory or methodology, in your field of research?

  2. What are the similarities and differences across disciplines in the way race is treated?

How can interdisciplinary collaboration disrupt the power imbalances which ‘erase race’ within academic discourse?



We invite interested participants to submit a 250 word abstract to the workshop by August 29th, 2018. Invited applicants will then be expected to submit a 1000 word synopsis of their ideas by September 20th, 2018, to be shared will all attendees. Please note our selection process will also prioritise collective diversity in fields, and not just quality (i.e. we will not accept 20 applications from anthropology though the work may be interesting and pertinent).


On the day of the workshop invited participants will be asked to speak briefly, and informally, on their research. Specific details about the workshop will be sent to invited participants by September 15th, 2018.


Please direct all submissions to


About the Working Group

'Institutional Erasure of Race: Violence Across Time and Space' represents an interdisciplinary working group which attempts to meet at regular intervals in order to study the different modes through which modern institutions have contributed towards structural violence in relation to racial discrimination. The working group is an outgrowth of the British Academy UK-US Early Career Collaboration Workshop on Violence.


Through sustained discussions across disciplines we aim to examine new and existing scholarship interested in questions pertaining to race and the modern condition. While we respect the boundaries that distinguish and maintain disciplinary expertise and knowledge, we believe that efforts to grapple with complex questions in contemporary society necessitate interdisciplinary approaches and methodologies. Therefore we hope our ongoing conversations will help shape new ideas, research agendas and publications that will prove useful for others working on these questions.


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