UW News

May 2, 2018

Center for Communication, Difference and Equity to explore issues of race and media in conference May 10-12

UW News

Issues of race and racism permeate American culture and media more than ever. The University of Washington’s Center for Communication, Difference and Equity will hold a three-day conference to explore these issues and foster engagement and support among academics.

The conference will be held Thursday through Saturday May 10 to 12, in the Samuel E. Kelly Ethnic Cultural Center. The event is organized by staff and faculty of the center, including Ralina Joseph, UW associate professor of communication, its founder and director. The full schedule is listed online.

Jane Rhodes, professor of African American Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago, will give the keynote address at 7 p.m. Thursday, under the title “In These Dark Times: The (Re)Making of a Radical Black Public Sphere.”

“This conference is an opportunity for scholars to share their cutting-edge work on all aspects of race and media,” Joseph said. “Studying race and media is so important because in our starkly segregated lives, the media is one of the few places that people engage regularly with folks who are different races than themselves. But what happens when racialized difference only happens on our screens?  This is what we’ll be talking about.

“It will also focus on how the rhetoric of post-racialism — which Joseph called “the idea that racism, and maybe even race itself are figments of the past” — has combined with an increasing threat to ethnic studies and “weakened our ability to call attention to race.”

The conference will bring scholars to Seattle from about two dozen institutions nationwide. Several UW faculty will present or facilitate discussions. These will include:

  • Sareeta Amrute, associate professor of anthropology, will lead a discussion on “Producing Race Behind the Screens”
  • Sonnet Retman, associate professor of American ethnic studies, will lead a discussion of “Sonic (Re)Collection: Memory and Resistance through Sound”
  • Negin Dahya, assistant professor in the Information School, will lead a discussion on “Racial and Spatial Signifiers: Negotiations of Self (Re)presentation”

Also, Joseph will host a lunchtime discussion Thursday on “Balance, Children, and Other Academic Juggling Acts” and Michelle Habell-Pallán, associate professor in the Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies Department, will host a discussion of “Race, Media, and Public Scholarship for Faculty of Color.”

Other presentations include:

  • “The Lessons of Failure: The Networks and Latina/o Sitcoms of the ’80s and ’90s”
  • “Black Women Showrunners’ Politics of Representation”
  • “From Post-Race to Post-Truth? Media and the New Era of Overt Racism”
  • “Because You Watched: Algorithmic Identities and What It Means To Be Latina/o According To Netflix”
  • “Post-Race in HBO’s ‘Westworld'”

On the final afternoon, the conference will present several collaborative projects and video presentations from researchers in the School of Public Health, College of Education, UW Bothell’s Digital Futures Lab and the Information School.

Joseph said, “With this conference we hope to foster a space of dialogue and critique around the most important issues of race and media today.”


For more information or for press access, contact Joseph at rljoseph@uw.edu.