Deadline extended: “Nativism, White Power, and Anti-Immigrant Violence in the United States”

Kathleen Belew's picture
Call for Papers
January 7, 2019
Illinois, United States
Subject Fields: 
Immigration & Migration History / Studies, Race Studies, American History / Studies

A Call for Conference Paper Proposals

“Nativism, White Power, and Anti-Immigrant Violence in the United States”


On April 19-20, 2019, Professors Kathleen Belew and Ramón Gutiérrez, of the University of Chicago’s History Department, will convene a two-day conference on “Nativism, White Power, and Anti-Immigrant Violence in the United States.”  The conference will be broadly inclusive of current humanities and social sciences research on the conference themes.


Violence against targeted groups has become a feature of the current moment. The news regularly features the separation of children and parents at the border, images of white power demonstrators parading with torches and swastikas, and stories of mass shootings motivated by white supremacy. This activity proliferates through multiple scales: performance, harassment, hate crimes, mass violence, political terror, and government policy. Significantly, the scholarship that has addressed this wide-ranging and capacious crisis of the republic has too rarely crossed the boundaries between narrowly defined subfields. This conference seeks to bring together the scholarly work on anti-immigrant, racist, islamophobic, antisemitic, populist, nationalist, and other varieties of targeted violence across multiple scales.


We endeavor first to structurally locate white backlash and the reemergence of militant white supremacists in the context of American politics over the last 60 years. We seek speakers to contextualize the impact the Civil Rights Movement had in the passage of the Civil Right Act (1964), the Voting Rights Act (1965), the Fair Housing Act (1968), and all the directives that followed. Many scholars locate the roots of white backlash in the economic transformation, radical changes to gender and racial power structures, and the changing nature of the state in the late twentieth century, and we therefore seek to excavate these root causes and evaluate their continued resonance, or lack thereof. The conference’s second goal is to empirically chronicle the many iterations of resurgent white nationalism, ranging from mainstream political discourse to the violent activism of the white power movement. Finally, we hope to explore varied notions of futurity and the possible solutions to the republic’s deep divides. 


Recent issues of interest include the separation of families on the border as part of a long history of racialized immigration policy and policing; the history of border policing in context of calls to build a wall; attempts to question or undermine the citizenship of Mexican Americans in south Texas. We also hope to explore resurgent white power activism in both public-facing rallies and in underground preparations for violence.


We thus invite paper proposals for inclusion in the conference around three themes.


  • Xenophobia, White Supremacy, and Anti-Immigrant Violence


  • Immigrants and the Deportation State


  • The White Power Movement: Organization, Recruitment, Membership, and Visions of Alternative Futures


Paper Proposals:  Individuals interested in presenting a paper at the conference should submit:

1) a 2-page (single-spaced) description of the proposed paper, its main arguments, even if tentative, and their empirical foundation based on on-going or past research; and,

2) a 2-page (single-spaced) curriculum vitae. 


The proposal should be sent as one digital file labeled as “Violence Conference Proposal” to:,,


Paper Proposal Deadline: January 7, 2019 at 5:00 pm (CST)


Paper Expectations:  Persons invited to participate through this process will be expected to pre-circulate the paper they will present at the conference two weeks in advance.  The University of California Press has expressed an interest in publishing the conference proceedings as a book, and an editor from the press will participate in vetting proposal acceptances.


Logistics:  All travel, hotel, and meals expenses incurred by conference presenters will be provided by the University of Chicago. The conference will take place on the University of Chicago campus, beginning with a keynote panel on Friday, April 19, 2019, and will run all day on Saturday, April 20, 2019. 


Conference is open to the public.


Contact Info: 

Kathleen Belew

Ramón Gutierrez

Contact Email: