CMRS 2012 « Critical Mixed Race Studies


2012 Conference

“What is Critical Mixed Race Studies?,” the biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, was held at DePaul University in Chicago on November 1-4, 2012.

The CMRS conference brought together over 400 scholars from a variety of disciplines across the U.S. as well as internationally. Recognizing that the diverse disciplines that have nurtured Mixed Race Studies have fostered different approaches to the field, the 2012 CMRS conference was devoted to the general theme “What is Critical Mixed Race Studies?”

Conference Schedule
Click here to view the 2012 CMRS Conference Schedule.

Conference and Mixed Roots Midwest Posters
Click here to view the 2012 CMRS Poster.
CMRS logo designed by Sandra Franco, 2010; Mixed Roots Midwest logo designed by Zerflin, 2012.

Click here to view the 2012 Mixed Roots Midwest festival poster.

Mixed Roots Midwest

Mixed Roots Midwest Filmmakers Panel – Fanshen Cox in conversation with Kim Kuhteubl, Jeff Chiba Stearns, and Kip Fulbeck. Photo by Laura Kina.

Author Chris L. Terry, from 2nd Story, performing “Mom the Barber” at CMRS 2012 Mixed Roots Midwest LIVE. Photo by Laura Kina.

CMRS 2012 Programming Committee

CMRS 2012 program committee member Rudy Guevarra Jr., (Arizona State University) on the right with Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain (National University of Ireland, Maynooth) and Paul Spickard (University of California Santa Barbara). Photo by Laura Kina.

CMRS 2012 program committee member Greg Carter (University of Wisconsin Milwaukee). Photo by Alex Sugiyama.

CMRS 2012 program committee member Rainier Spencer (University of Nevada Las Vegas)

CMRS 2012  program committee member Michele Elam (Stanford) on the left with Mixed Roots Midwest organizers Chandra Crudup and Fanshen Cox. Photo by Laura Kina.

Learn more about CMRS 2012

As Americans of mixed racial ancestry continue to grow in number and diversity, the demographic, social, political and cultural implications for the nation grow in complexity. These issues were examined from a variety of perspectives at a groundbreaking conference that brought scholars and artists from around the nation and abroad to DePaul University Nov. 1 through 4, 2012.

The conference included 50 individual programs featuring research presentations, panel discussions and performances that explored various aspects of the emerging field of Critical Mixed Race Studies (CRMS). More than 150 presenters from across the nation and countries ranging from the Philippines to the United Kingdom came.

Individual programs examined issues such as discrimination against mixed race persons, mixed race student organizations and mixed race gender and sexuality issues. Individual panel topics included: “Assessing Mixed-Race Iconography: Barack Obama and Tiger Woods;” “Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Mixed-Race Identities;” and “Media, Celebrity and Beauty: The Visuals of Mixed Race.”

According to a 2011 Pew Research Center report examining 2010 U.S. Census data, more than nine million Americans identified themselves as belonging to two or more racial groups. That figure was up 134 percent compared to data in the 2000 U.S. Census, which was the first to allow individuals to identify more than one race.

CMRS is the transracial, transnational and interdisciplinary critical analysis of the institutionalization of social, cultural, and political orders based on dominant conceptions of race. CMRS examines the mutability of race and the porousness of racial boundaries in order to critique processes of racialization and social stratification based on race. CMRS also addresses local and global systemic injustices rooted in systems of racialization.

“Critical Mixed Race Studies is a rapidly evolving area of study that draws from diverse disciplines. The 2012 conference was dedicated to better defining what the field entails,” said Camilla Fojas, the Vincent de Paul Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies and an organizer of the conference which was first held in 2010 at DePaul. “As the complexity of the nation’s racial make-up increases so too does the depth and breadth of scholarly research into the topic.”

In addition to scholarly presentations, the conference also featured cultural events at the conclusion of the first three days of programs through a Mixed Roots Midwest festival. All programs were held at the DePaul Student Center, Room 120, 2250 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago. Specific programs included:

Nov 1, 5:45 p.m.: Selected Short Films: Silences, Crayola Monologues, Mixed Mexican, and Nigel’s Fingerprint these critically acclaimed shorts take on themes of racism, familial relationships, the Census, and how we define ourselves in a world obsessed with categorizing people by color.

Nov 2, 5:15 p.m.: Filmmakers Panel which featured Jeff Chiba Stearns, Kip Fulbeck, and Kim Kuhteubl discussing their their journeys from pre-production through post-production, and what inspired them to tell stories of the mixed experience..

Nov 3, 5:15 p.m.: Mixed Roots Midwest LIVE an evening of energetic, thought-provoking performances which featured spoken word artists CP Chang, Chris L. Terry and Sage Xaxua Morgan-Hubbard from Chicago’s own 2nd Story, along with a preview of Fanshen Cox’s solo-show-in-progress, One Drop of Love and invited Chicago writer Fred Sasaki reading from a manuscript of e-mails called “Letter of Interest.” These artists melded performance with an exploration and critical analysis of what it means to have a mixed identity.



2012 Press

Dawn Turner Trice.“An evolving awareness of a mixed-race world.” The Chicago Tribune. Monday, 9, October 2012: Section 1, p. 7.

Nadra Kareem Nittle.“Covering Multiracial America Requires Historical Perspective.” Maynard Media Center on Structural Inequity. November 14, 2012.



From the blogosphere

Laura Kina. “2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies and Mixed Roots Midwest Recap.” November 14, 2012.

Rita Kamani-Renedo. “Reflections on Critical Mixed Race Studies conference.” Crossing Borders, Bridging Generations. November 2012.

Chieko Phillips. “Including Museums in Critical Mixed Race Studies.” The Incluseum. November 27, 2012.