University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Call for Papers

“Racial Formation, Racial Blindness”

Alliance of History Graduate Students Conference on Racial History

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

February 14-15, 2014

Abstracts Due: December 1, 2013 / Final Papers Due: January 17, 2014

Graduate Student History Conference on Race and Ethnicity

The Alliance of History Graduate Students at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee is pleased to announce its inaugural conference on racial history. In their classic work, Racial Formation in the United States, Michael Omi and Howard Winant describe race as an “arbitrarily chosen human attribute” that “shapes politics and policy, love and hate, life and death.” As they note, “All of the powers of the intellect—artistic, religious, scientific, political—are pressed into service to explain racial distinctions, and to suggest how they may be maintained, changed, or abolished.” Many scholars have since expanded on and exposed the various meanings historically attributed to race, and this conference hopes to advance, critique, and suggest new directions for the study of these historical meanings of racial identity and privilege that Omi and Winant suggest. We are particularly interested in receiving papers from a spectrum of disciplines and a broad range of genres that help illuminate these themes.

Topics: We welcome submissions related to racial history broadly conceived from any academic discipline, national context, or period. Possible topics include, but are not limited to: Labor; U.S. History, Health and Wellbeing; Anti-Racism/Activism; Law; Ethnographies; Media Studies; Indigenous Populations; Empire; Education; Gender; Immigration; Cultural Practices; Notions of Colorblindness; Urban Geography; Whiteness; Ethnicity; and Race Outside the U.S.

Keynote Panel, Friday, February 14, 2014

Moderated by Robert S. Smith, Associate Professor of History and Director of the Cultures & Communities Program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Paul Street: A journalist, author, historian, and commentator, Street is a member of the International Organization for a Participatory Society and holds a PhD in U.S. History from Binghamton University. He has worked as a senior staff person at the Chicago Urban League and is the author of five books.

Heather Ann Thompson, An Associate Professor in History and African American Studies at Temple University, Thompson’s research focuses on crime, punishment, and prison activism during the 1960s and 70s. She is currently finishing a comprehensive history of the 1971 Attica Prison Rebellion and its legacy.


Format: The conference will be comprised of a series of moderated panel discussions centered on themes developed from relationships between the submitted papers. Papers will be distributed well in advance of the colloquium, allowing attendees to become familiar with the scholarship of each grouped session. Each presenter will be allowed several minutes to talk about their paper in any manner they deem appropriate, after which the moderator and other group participants will interact with the author to discuss, critique, and make suggestions for further development.

Submissions: Send a 300-word abstract, CV, and questions to:

Presenters will be charged a $10 registration fee, and free breakfast and lunch will be provided to presenters on the day of the conference. Free lodging with local grad students can be arranged.

For more information, visit