Friday, 4 November 2016

CfP: Reparative Histories 2: The Making, Re-making and Un-making of ‘Race’

6-7 April 2017, Centre for Research in Memory, Narrative and Histories, University of Brighton, UK

This interdisciplinary conference aims to build on the momentum created by the first Reparative Histories symposium held in 2014 and by the subsequent publication of a special issue of Race & Class (‘Reparative Histories: radical narratives of ‘race’ and resistance’, Race and Class, 57, 3 (2016)). That first event was interested in critically addressing the ways in which conceptions of the ‘reparative’ are currently shaped and understood, and in exploring what it means to turn to history in the appeal for recognition and redress. We set out to explore the question of how to relate the past to the present in the context of ‘race’, narrative and representation. Significant issues stemming from the first symposium concerned the importance of thinking through forms of historical interconnectedness both spatially and temporally, and ways of addressing, the dialectics of anti-colonial struggle, anti-racist resistance and mobilisation. This conference aims to further develop the concept of ‘Reparative Histories’ and to build on these concerns.
Given that racialised meanings continue to powerfully structure understandings of identity, belonging and exclusion within multiple social, cultural political and economic spaces. How might we further trace the history and politics of the making and unmaking of ‘race’? How might we connect effectively these historical formulations and to the maintenance of particular contemporary power relations? This conference aims to explore critically the ways in which processes of making, re-making and un-making ‘race’ are rooted in particular histories, politics and cultures. The conference aims to further elucidate the processes of racialization associated with histories of imperialism, colonialism, transatlantic enslavement and other forms of global labour production. It also aims to question how ‘legacies’ might be traced in the light of contemporary social and economic formations. ‘Race’ continues to signify either by glossing its historical provenance, or by drawing upon it.
At the same time, ‘race’ and its histories, offer a powerful political platform for those engaged in anti-racist, anti-colonial resistance. These traditions of struggle are currently being re-activated and re-articulated in ways that confront the power and pull of the universalism of liberal orthodoxy and they are increasingly exposing its fault-lines and occlusions. What is the role of history and indeed, memory, in relation to these resistant political processes. How might representations of the past be activated for the now?
Possible themes for this symposium could include ‘race’ and colonialism, ‘race’ and labour; anti-slavery resistances; decolonisation and de-colonial struggles; capitalism and ‘race’; interracial class solidarity; gendered racialization; anti-racist resistance movements; the racializing of ‘suspect communities’; anti-Semitism and Islamophobia; Whiteness studies and the limitations of privilege theory; ‘race’, representational form and expressive culture; and contemporary anti-racist politics;  
 Questions for consideration might include (but are not limited to the following):
 How does tracing the historical making of ‘race’ contribute to reparative history?
·         How do re-makings of ‘race’ in the contemporary moment draw on raced histories of the past?
·         How has an anti-racist insistence on racialization functioned in forms of political mobilisation and/or political resistance?
·         What are the limits of liberal humanism in accounting for normalising discourses of ‘race’?
·         How can the history and legacies of transatlantic enslavement, colonialism and imperialism be drawn upon for the purposes of resisting contemporary racisms?
·         What sort of politics do histories and memories of inter-racial mobilisations either enable or delimit?
·         How are migrants placed within the language of racialized labour practices both historically and in the present?
·         What does the treatment of refugees tell us about contemporary politics of ‘othering’?
·         What is the role of literary and other forms of cultural representation in securing/subverting racialized imaginaries?
·         How can memories and/or memorialisation negotiate the contested histories of ‘race’?

We invite proposals from across the disciplines. They may concern historical and/or contemporary issues or moments and address any representational form. We welcome proposals for single papers, panels, or for plenary discussions. (Please provide a brief rationale for a panel or a plenary.) If your proposal speaks to one of the conference questions listed above, please specify this in your submission. Postgraduate submissions are of course welcome.

Proposals of 250 words and a brief biography/CV should be sent to Anita Rupprecht ( and Cathy Bergin ( Closing date for proposals: December 31st, 2016.
The conference fee is £80. There is a fee of £40 for graduate students and for those with no institutional affiliation. 
The conference will be held at the Grand Parade Campus, University of Brighton.

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