‘Global Mixed Race’ Conference Welcomes Scholars, Filmmakers to Chicago

DePaul University to host free gathering Nov. 13-15


Rebecca King-O’Riain, senior lecturer at the National University Ireland Maynooth, will give a keynote speech at the “Global Mixed Race” conference at DePaul University. (Photo courtesy of Rebecca King-O’Riain)

CHICAGO —(ENEWSPF)—October 30, 2014. Critical mixed race studies, a growing academic field that crosses national, disciplinary and racial boundaries, will be the focus of discussion by scholars, filmmakers and performers at an international conference Nov. 13-15 in Chicago. “Global Mixed Race” will be held at DePaul University’s Lincoln Park Campus, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave. In addition to presentations of scholarly research, there will be live performances and film screenings, including the Chicago premiere of “Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China” by director Paula Williams Madison.

Nearly 200 presenters from the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, Japan and Australia will participate in 45 panels during this third biennial conference, which was founded at DePaul in 2010.

“We wanted to create a dynamic space for ongoing scholarly antiracist conversations, debates, and creative processes around multiraciality that also is open and inclusive for the general public, community organizations, and those involved in the arts,” said Laura Kina, cofounder of the conference and professor of art, media and design at DePaul University. Kina is coauthor of “War Baby/Love Child: Mixed Race Asian American Art” and an artist whose solo exhibitions include “Blue Hawai’I” and “Sugar.”

Camilla Fojas, conference cofounder and professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul, will deliver the welcoming address with Kina.

“Critical mixed race studies is comparative and interdisciplinary. It engages colonial and imperial histories, giving it a transnational and global focus,” Fojas said. Her research focuses on transnational American media and cultural studies in a comparative imperial context. Her newest work, “Islands of Empire: Pop Culture and U.S. Power,” examines how the United States has narrated its relationship with island territories, including Cuba, the Philippines and Puerto Rico.

The conference will feature two keynote speakers from Ireland: Rebecca King-O’Riain and Zélie Asava.

King-O’Riain is a coauthor of “Global Mixed Race” and a senior lecturer at the National University Ireland Maynooth. Her research focuses on race/ethnicity, multiraciality, Asian Americans, beauty pageants, gender, children, migration and the globalization of love. Her keynote will address how critical mixed race studies can avoid categorization and “balkanized politics” and connect and share ideas across geographic, disciplinary and temporal spaces. She draws on research from Zambia, Brazil, Kazakhstan, Okinawa, New Zealand and Mexico.

Asava of the Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland will discuss “Mixed Race Representations in Contemporary Irish Cinema” before a screening of several short films. Her research covers issues of race, gender and sexuality in Irish, French, American and African screen culture. Asava is the author of “The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities in Irish Film and TV.”

Another presenter, Paula Williams Madison, will screen and discuss her recent film, “Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China.” In the film, family transcends race, space and time. Three successful black siblings from Harlem discover their heritage while searching for clues about their long-lost grandfather, Samuel Lowe. Their emotional journey spans from Toronto to Jamaica to China, reuniting them with hundreds of Chinese relatives they never imagined existed.

Other films to be screened with the directors are “Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs and the Contours of Contested Whiteness” by Jamil Khoury and Stephen Combs; and “A Lot Like You” by Eliaichi Kimaro.

The nonprofit Mixed Roots Stories, which promotes public awareness of the stories and storytellers that contribute to arts, culture, education, media and politics of the mixed experience, will present a performance showcase, including Tangled Roots, a group of performers from the UK who celebrate the stories of mixed race families.

The conference is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Register at http://condor.depaul.edu/dpulas/cmrs/2014/.

For a full schedule of events and more information about the conference, visit http://criticalmixedracestudies.org/wordpress/cmrs-2014/.

Source: www.depaul.edu