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4th Annual Conference in Citizenship Studies: Race and Citizenship

Date and time

March 1 - 4, 2007

About the conference

The Center for the Study of Citizenship at Wayne State University announces its fourth annual Conference in Citizenship Studies. This year's conference on race and citizenship will be divided into three different formats. Conference attendees will attend all formats.

I. Plenary addresses

In selecting plenary speakers, we paid particular attention to scholars whose work places them on the cutting edge of citizenship studies and as authors of path-breaking work on race and citizenship. We are extremely proud of our line-up of speakers.

II. Panel presentations

We encourage submissions from individual scholars and from preformed panels. We plan to limit the number of presenters in each session to three in order to allow adequate presentation time and ample time for discussion. As part of the center’s efforts to foster the development of citizenship studies, participants’ papers will be reviewed for a possible invitation to publish in the center’s planned volume of essays on race and citizenship.

III. Topic seminars

In past years, the conference was comprised largely of panel presentations. Although those presentations remain a significant component of the race and citizenship conference, this year’s conference adds an additional format: topic seminars. We added seminars to the conference for a number of reasons. First, we wanted to provide an organized forum for addressing some of the pervasive thematic, theoretical, or methodological concerns that are often shared by conference attendees but are rarely addressed in the traditional panel format.

We expect that the seminars will provide attendees the opportunity and structure necessary to transcend the presentation of particular projects and to engage more richly those pervasive and shared research interests. Second, although the agendas of these seminars will be guided by the designated seminar leaders and shaped by the participants themselves, we anticipate that the seminars will advance the center’s mission building the field of citizenship studies by charting emergent areas of scholarship in need of attention, discussing and critiquing available (or new) methodologies and approaches to considering those topics, identifying and examining assumptions that guide the research of various scholars, academic disciplines, or research areas, and, of course, fostering a community of scholars by putting them into working contact with one another so that they might discover or forge shared interests.

In these ways, seminar sessions will not only amplify and parallel questions and interests raised in panel sessions, but they will also enrich the conference by adding a different, holistic, and field-building level of analysis and conversation. To explore race and citizenship, the center has selected three broad themes that will guide the conference: 

Theme one: Citizenship and the construction of race, and vice-versa

This theme examines the ways in which citizenship and race intersect, primarily as it relates to the interdependence and constituting effect of each on the other. Of particular interest is the manner in which the body of the citizen is racialized and conversely the ways in which race is constructed through the prism of the particular archetypal subject-citizen. 

  • The importance, and persistence, of racial difference in experiences of citizenship
  • Considering appropriate theories for understanding race
  • Intersections between gender, class, sexuality and cultural differences as regards race and citizenship
  • The collapse/resurgence of whiteness in an era of multiculturalism
  • Experiences of Asian, Native American, African, Arabic, Jewish and other groups with citizenship or its denial
  • Representations of the subject-citizen

Theme two: Race, citizenship and policy studies

This theme accents the role of governmental and cultural policy in shaping, and intervening in, the racialized production of citizenship. It considers to what extent public policies have or should reflect racial distinctions as well as the consequences of those policies.  

  • Questions of political representation to include racialized science and the national census, voting exclusions, redistricting and gerrymandering
  • Forms and discourses of apologia and/or reparation as it pertains to efforts to rectify past disfranchisement
  • Urban planning, the city, and (uneven) development including issues associated with Hurricane Katrina and other issues of government assistance
  • The articulation of race and citizenship in the fine arts or sciences
  • Education policies (ex. standardized tests, affirmative action, busing)
  • Indigenous sovereignty, policies, and legislation including issues of blood quantum and tribal membership
  • Scientific metaphors in the discourses of nationalism

Theme three: Race, participation and belonging

This theme considers the intersection of race and citizenship as it pertains to the putative breakdown of national borders and subsequent transformations in the nature and experience of citizenship, as well as the growing interest in the question of place as it relates to questions of identification, feelings of belonging and affiliation, and, especially, questions of integration and participation in public(s).

  • Transnational citizenship as it is informed by and transforms race and racism
  • Citizenship and national identity
  • Representation and political equity
  • Integration in the political and/or cultural political forms of life as well as barriers to equal participation, access, or fairness
  • Border studies, race and immigration and migration practices, policies, and legislation
  • Diaspora, post-colonialism, exile, and the psycho-social politics of dispossession
  • Subdivisions, New Urbanism, and the politics of ‘home’
  • Popular media, spectacular culture, and race and citizenship


Wayne State University
Detroit, MI 48202


  • Manning Marable, professor of public affairs, political science, history, and African American studies, Columbia University 
  • Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, research professor of sociology, Duke University and the center’s distinguished scholar-in-residence
  • Melissa Nobles, associate professor of political science, MIT
  • Grant Farred, associate professor of literature, Duke University