This past Friday, the Race & Ethnicity graduate student community group held its first meeting. Founded in 2009, the group was created with three main goals in mind. The first is to offer graduate students interested in race & ethnicity a supportive and collaborative place to workshop and discuss their work and papers in progress. The second is to create a timely space where we can critically examine the ways in which race & ethnicity operate in current events and if necessary, make a political intervention into the discourse. This was the case last spring, when several members of the race & ethnicity group along with Dr. Ben Carrington authored a Daily Texan column addressing the Trayvon Martin shooting. Our final goal is to bring in respected and innovative scholars of race & ethnicity to discuss their works with the UT community. To that end, the group has sponsored or co-sponsored talks by Drs. Joe Feagin, Adia Harvey Wingfield, John Sugden, and Beccy Watson among others.
This fall, we will be examining media representations of race broadly and the ways in which race & ethnicity are understood and discussed by the media in the 2012 election specifically. In June, UT sociology professors Dr. Ben Carrington and Dr. Simone Browne co-edited a special issue of Qualitative Sociology entitled “The Obamas and the New Politics of Race” (currently available for free) and at our next meeting we will be discussing selected articles from the issue as a springboard into our semester-long conversation. As part of our speaker series, in December we will be privileged to welcome Dr. Avery Gordon, author of Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination. Dr. Gordon’s work demonstrates that past or haunting social forces control present life in different and more complicated ways than most social analysts presume and offers new ways to theorize the complex intersections of race, gender, and class.
We encourage any UT graduate students involved in race & ethnicity studies to e-mail Amias Maldonado (firstname.lastname@example.org) for details on future meetings, as we strive to create a multidisciplinary, inclusive atmosphere that encourages intellectual collaboration and academic community.
Image Credit: Humanity, Arts, Science, and Technology Advanced Collabratory