2005 to 2010 - Special Events & Symposia

Listing of CRG Special Events & Symposia from fall 2005 to spring 2010. 

Bios reflect speakers’ status at the time of their presentation at the Center for Race and Gender.

2009 - 2010

Event flyer for Spring 2010 Families on Faultlines

Families on the Faultlines:  Re-Imagining Race, Kinship, Care

04.29 & 30.2010 | 8:00 AM – 5:00 PM |  370 Dwinelle Hall

Families who live on the fault lines of economic insecurity, geographic displacement, and ideological battles over who counts as a “family” are particularly at risk for suffering the fallout of current economic disasters, environmental crises, and local and global wars. These ruptures present not only profound challenges for the survival of kinship structures, but also opportunities for uncovering new or hidden landscape for notions and practices of family, kin, and care.

This conference will consider the following issues:

  • How is the idea of “family” in flux, racialized, and politicized?
  • How do these political fluctuations impact families and kin of color, immigrant families, LGBT families, and other kinship networks?
  • How are kinships displaced and how are they reconstructed?
  • How do families creatively adapt to radical change?
  • How does forced and chosen migration reshape how “family” is considered?
  • How is the project of caring for others gendered, classed, racialized?
  • Are there opportunities for coalition building in the face of seemingly unbridgeable divides?
  • Are there visions for liberatory kinship structures, principles for caring, and family arrangements in the context of vast instability?

Presentations will interrogate contemporary political debates about race, kinship, and care, such as “marriage equality,” “welfare reform,” reproduction, labor, and immigration. The conference also seeks to historicize “systems of survival,” recognizing enduring legacies of fault line living.

Generous co-sponsors include the Gender Women’s Studies Department, Townsend Center for the Humanities, Berkeley Diversity Research Initiative, Gender Equity Resource Center, Center for the Study of Law Society, Interdisciplinary Family Studies Working Group, Berkeley Undergraduate Sociology Association, Institute for the Study of Societal Issues, Beatrice Bain Research Group, Ethnic Studies Department, Department of Sociology, Department of Theater, Dance, Performance Studies, Student Opportunity Fund, Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice. 

Event Flyer for Fall 2009 Michael Jackson Symposium

Michael Jackson: Critical Reflection On A Life & A Phenomenon

10.01.2009| 3:00 – 6:00 PM |  Sibley Auditorium, Bechtel Engineering Center

Scholars and artists reflect on the legacy of Michael Jackson on performance & artistry, racial & sexual politics, and cultural representations.  Featuring National Poetry Slam Champion, BLAIR



Michael Jackson: The Original Post Racial Soul Brother
Dr. Rickey Vincent, San Francisco City College

Who’s Bad? : Michael Jackson’s Movements
Megan Pugh, UC Berkeley

Profit Without Honor: Michael Jackson In and Out of America, 1984-2009
Regina Arnold, Stanford University

I’m Not Gonna Spend My Life Being A Color
Prof. Tamara Roberts, UC Berkeley


‘Working Day and Night’: Performing Black Manhood as the King of Pop
Prof. Andreana Clay, San Francisco State University

This is Not It: Recognizing Michael Jackson TM In What Remains
Seth Clark Silberman

Michael, Michael, On The Line
Cecilia Cissell Lucas, UC Berkeley

Event co-sponsored by the UC Berkeley Center for Race & Gender, Department of Music, Theater, Dance & Performance Studies, Department of Rhetoric, Department of Gender & Women's Studies, Beatrice Bain Research Group, and African American Studies. 


Event flyer for December 2005 Hierarchies of Color Symposium

Hierarchies of  Color:  Transnational Perspectives on the Social and Cultural Significance of Skin Color

12.02 & 03.05 | 5:30 – 7:30 PM |  Lipman Room, Barrows Hall

“Hierarchies of  Color:  Transnational Perspectives on the Social and Cultural Significance of Skin Color”  is a conference designed to bring together scholars to examine the social, cultural, and economic significance of skin color and of social hierarchy based on skin tone.   Through the conference, we seek to explore colorism not in isolation, but in its intersection and entanglements with other forms of social hierarchy based on gender, caste, class, sexuality, and race. We also aim to take an historical comparative approach that uncovers general patterns across societies as well as historical and cultural specificities and differences across cultures.

With the breakdown of traditional racial categories in many areas of the world, we see colorism as a persisting frontier of inter and intra-group relations in the 21st century. Studies have documented discrimination against darker-skinned persons within ethnic and racial communities and of a correlation between skin tone and socio-economic status and achievement in many societies.  Psychological experiments have shown a close relation between perception of an individual’s skin color and judgments about that individual’s intelligence, character, and attractiveness.  The privileging of light skin is also manifested in the widespread use of skin lightening and skin bleaching products,  especially by women between the ages of 16 and 35, despite the serious health risks they pose.

In contrast to race, conceptualized as discrete and fixed (e.g. black/white), skin color is arrayed along a continuum that cross-cuts racial categories.  The intersection of race and color creates complex hierarchies both within and between racial/ethnic communities.  In some societies, such as the U.S., notions of belonging and peoplehood historically have been tied to forms of racial categorization rooted in the discourse and ideology of white supremacy.  Race, understood in terms of mutual exclusivity, serves as the basis for particular and unique forms of segregation maintained through the principle of hypodescent.  In other societies, such as Brazil, notions of belonging and peoplehood are organized around tropes of racial hybridity.  Racial democracy as the organizing principle of the nation state is publicized, legitimized and institutionalized around representations and practices of cross-racial intimacy.  Yet, despite the latter’s legitimacy, the emergent hybridities remain ordered hierarchically around distinctions of color.

This conference is intended to explore these complexities, identifying differences and commonalities across time and space.

Conference Anthology


Shades of Difference is an exciting anthology that grew out of the 2005 CRG conference, “Hierarchies of Color.” The anthology addresses the widespread but little studied phenomenon of colorism — the preference for lighter skin and the ranking of individual worth according to skin tone. Examining the social and cultural significance of skin color in a broad range of societies and historical periods, this insightful collection looks at how skin color affects people’s opportunities in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and North America.

Is skin color bias distinct from racial bias? How does skin color preference relate to gender, given the association of lightness with desirability and beauty in women? The authors of this volume explore these and other questions as they take a closer look at the role Western-dominated culture and media have played in disseminating the ideal of light skin globally. With its comparative, international focus, this enlightening book will provide innovative insights and expand the dialogue around race and gender in the social sciences, ethnic studies, African American studies, and gender and women’s studies.

Learn more by reviewing the anthology’s table of contents and the introduction, “Economies of Color,” by Angela P. Harris.

Event co-sponsored by Boat School of Law, International and Area Studies (IAS), The Townsend Center for the Humanities, Deans' Office, College of Letters and Science, African American Studies, Ethnic Studies, Center for South Asian Studies, Center for Southeast Asia Studies, Center for the Study of Sexual Culture, Institute for the Study of Social Change, and the Department of Rhetoric. 

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