CMRS 2014 « Critical Mixed Race Studies

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2014 Conference

“Global Mixed Race,” the 3rd biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, was held at DePaul University in Chicago November 13-15, 2014.

Download the CMRS 2014 Schedule

CMRS 2014 Event Flyer

Press Release

Conference News:

Paul Spickard Graduate Student Paper Award for Critical Mixed Race Studies
March 12, 2015 – We are pleased to announce the winners of the inaugural Paul Spickard Graduate Student Paper Award for Critical Mixed Race Studies – Dani Kwan-Lafond and Jillian Paragg for their jointly-written paper “Interracial Dating and Mixed Race Identities.”
Download the Paul Spickard Graduate Student Paper Award Press Release.

Pursue graduate work in Critical Mixed Race Studies under DePaul University’s new MA in Critical Ethnic Studies. DePaul is currently accepting applications for the first cohort of graduate students to begin in Fall of 2015.
Contact Camilla Fojas for more info:

Over 600 people attended Global Mixed Race. Videos of our keynotes and Live Performance showcase are forthcoming. Please visit us on Facebook to see event photos. Hi res press photos are available on request. Follow the archive of the event on Twitter#CMRS2014. Read a reflection from our Social Media Caucus organizer Sharon H. Chang. Watch Mixed Roots Stories top 3 highlights from each day.

Conference RecapDePaul Magazine 12/16/14
‘Did Somebody Say “Mulatto”? Speaking Critically on Mixed Heritage by A.B. Wilkinson Huffington Poast 11/21/14
‘Global Mixed Race’ conference welcomes scholars, filmmakers to DePaul by Kristin Claes Matthews DePaul Newsline 11/11/14

CMRS Keynote Address 11/13/14: Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain “Mixed Race, Transconnectivity, and the Global Imagination”

MIXED ROOTS STORIES keynote Address 11/14/4: Zélie Asava “The Black Irish Onscreen”
Here are links to some of the films Dr. Asava discussed.

MIXED ROOTS STORIES Live Performance 11/15/14
*Joe Hernandez-Kolski w/ Guest Dustin “I AM”

*Joe Hernandez-Kolski “Cultural Collisions”

*Tangled Roots” Katy Massey, Zodwa Nyoni, Lladel Bryant, Adam Lowe

Tania Cañas “Untouchable”

*Fred Sasaki “How to Hafu It All: Three easy Steps to 100%”

Joe Hernandez-Kolski “Cool” plus Bows & Closing Remarks by Laura Kina and Camilia Fojas

*Mature Language. Please note that the views expressed by the performers are their own and do not necessarily reflect the views of DePaul University, Critical Mixed Race Studies, or Mixed Roots Stories.

The 2017 conference will be held February 24-26, 2017 at University of Southern California and will be hosted by Associate Professor Duncan Ryuken Williams, founder of the Hapa Japan Project and Director of USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture. We will continue to partner with Mixed Roots Stories to offer arts and cultural programming. We are moving forward with founding an association. Join our mailing list to stay informed. We anticipate organizing a symposium in 2015 in Ottawa, ON, Canada and a full CMRS conference on the US east coast in 2018. We are currently seeking institutional partners in the UK or Japan to host a CMRS symposium in 2016. Please contact us at if you would like to volunteer.

Conference Description:
Global Mixed Race, the third biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference, was hosted at DePaul University in Chicago, November 13th-15th, 2014. It brought together scholars from a variety of disciplines around the world to facilitate a conversation about the transnational, transdisciplinary, and transracial field of Critical Mixed Race Studies.

The presentations addressed the 2014 theme by:

- tracing the history and historiography of mixed race in academic, popular, and legal discourses in a global context;

- identifying and measuring the impact of global migration, settlement, and sociocultural encounter and interaction on these mixed-race histories and historiographies;

- encouraging broad, interdisciplinary debate connecting different historical periods and seemingly disparate or far-flung regions of the world, such as comparative racial ideology in Europe, Africa, Latin America, and Asia or the study of comparative anti-miscegenation laws.

Mixed Roots Stories logoMixed Roots Stories partnered with Critical Mixed Race Studies to bring arts and cultural programming to the 2014 conference. In addition to three full days of peer-reviewed scholarly panels and round tables and a featured CMRS keynote speaker, arts and cultural programming were offered each conference day along with two featured evening events – Friday, November 14th keynote talk/night of short films and Saturday, November 15th live performance event.

The 2014 conference was organized in partnership with DePaul’s Department for Latin American and Latino Studies and the Center for Intercultural Programs, and the non-profit organization Mixed Roots Stories. CMRS 2014 was also co-sponsored by DePaul’s Office of Institutional Diversity and Equity, African Black Diaspora Studies, Art, Media, & Design, Center for Latino Research, Critical Ethnic Studies, Global Asian Studies, Irish Studies, LGBTQ Studies, Women’s and Gender Studies, and the Dean’s Office of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences. The conference was also sponsored in part by a grant from the University Research Council.

Schedule at a Glance

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2014 – DePaul University Student Center 2250 N. Sheffield, Chicago, IL
8:00am-5:00pm Registration
8:45-9:30am Opening Remarks
9:45-11:15am Session One
11:30am-1:00pm Session Two
1:00-2:15pm Lunch/Caucus Meetings
2:15-3:45pm Session Three
4:00-5:30pm Session Four
5:45-7:15pm Keynote address: Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain “Mixed Race, Transconnectivity, and the Global Imagination”

FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2014 – DePaul University Student Center 2250 N. Sheffield, Chicago, IL
8:00am-5:00pm Registration
9:00-10:30am Session One
10:45am-12:15pm Session Two
12:30-1:45pm Lunch/Caucus Meetings
12:30-5:15pm Information Fair
1:45-3:15pm Session Three
3:30-5:00pm Session Four
5:15-7:00pm MIXED ROOTS STORIES: Keynote address by Zélie Asava “The Black Irish Onscreen”; short film screenings

SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 15, 2014 – DePaul University Student Center 2250 N. Sheffield, Chicago, IL
8:00am-12:00pm Registration
9:00-10:30am Session One
10:45am-12:15pm Session Two
12:15-1:30pm Lunch/Caucus Meetings/Journal of CMRS and Business Meeting
12:15-5:00pm Information Fair
1:30-3:00pm Session Three
3:15-4:45pm Session Four
5:00-6:30pm MIXED ROOTS STORIES: Live Performance Event

Schedule Highlights
CMRS Featured Keynote Speaker Thursday, November 13, 2014 5:45-7:15
Rebecca Chiyoko King O"Riain
“Mixed Race, Transconnectivity and the Global Imagination”
Rebecca Chiyoko King-O’Riain
is Senior Lecturer, Department of Sociology, National University Ireland Maynooth. Her research interests are: “race/ethnicity, multiraciality, Asian Americans, beauty pageants, gender, children, migration and the globalization of love.” She is the author of Pure Beauty: Judging Race in Japanese American Beauty Pageants (Minnesota, 2006) and co-editor, along with Stephen Small, Minelle Mahtani, Paul Spickard, and Miri Song, of Global Mixed Race (New York University Press, 2014).

Mixed Roots Stories Featured Keynote Speaker and Short Film Screening Friday, November 14, 2014 5:15-7:00pm
Zelie Asava
“Mixed Race Representations in Contemporary Irish Cinema”
Zélie Asava
is Joint Programme Director of Video and Film at Dundalk Institute of Technology in Ireland. Her research covers issues of race, gender and sexuality in Irish, French, American and African screen culture. She is the author of The Black Irish Onscreen: Representing Black and Mixed-Race Identities in Irish Film and TV, (Oxford: Peter Lang, 2013).

Friday Night Featured Shorts:
America in Red and Black
America in Red and Black: Stories of Afro-Native Identity (excerpts) (2006), by Alicia S. Woods
This intimate film follows six Afro-native Americans from around the U.S., as they reflect upon the personal and complex issues of Native and African heritage, ethnic identity, and racism within communities of color.


The Happiest Person in AmericaThe Happiest Person in America (2013), by Sara Israel
Set at the cultural intersection of American Judaism and the Asian American experience, The Happiest Person In America is a whimsical, slyly insightful, and ultimately bittersweet tale of what we lose and what we gain throughout our lives, and how those transactions affect our identities—even while we must acknowledge that there are aspects of each of us that are immutable.


For The Love Of UnicornsFor the Love of Unicorns (2014), by Genevieve Erin O’Brien
At the heart, this a short film about queer utopia, Asian/American utopia, and mixed race utopia.  The young girl, Kylan, represents the hope that when we speak out and organize, one day, we can live in a queer utopian world where, even though everyone’s unicorn may look different, they can all dance together under a glittery rainbow.


Negro: A Docu-Series About Latino IdentityNegro: A Docu-Series about Latino Identity (excerpts) (2013), by Dash Harris

Negro is a docu-series exploring identity, colonization, racism and the African Diaspora in Latin America and the Caribbean and the color complex among Latinos. Through candid interviews from Latinos, the social manifestations and consequences of the deep-seated color complex is deconstructed.


Mixed MatchMixed Match trailer (2014), by Jeff Chiba Stearns
Mixed Match is an inspirational, emotional, and evocative feature-length documentary that explores the need to find mixed ethnicity bone marrow and cord blood donors to donate to multiethnic patients suffering from life threatening blood diseases such as leukemia.  This live action and animated film is a dramatic journey focusing on the main characters’ struggles to survive against incredible odds.


Mixed Roots Stories Live Performance Showcase Saturday, November 15, 2014 5:00-6:30pm
Joe Hernandez Kolski
Joe Hernández-Kolski
“Cultural Collisions”
Originally from Chicago, Joe Hernández Kolski – a two time HBO Def Poet – is an in demand actor/poet/comedian, known for live performances that are hard hitting, truthful and incredibly funny. As a stand-up comedian/poet, he travels to colleges performing his two shows “Refried Latino Pride” and “Cultural Collisions.” He also runs an open-mic for high school performers called Downbeat 720 – and received an Emmy as producer/host of the televised version.  For more:


Elizabeth Liang

Elizabeth Liang
“Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey”
Elizabeth Liang was raised in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Morocco, Egypt, and Connecticut as a Guatemalan-American business brat of Chinese-Spanish-Irish-French-German-English descent. Her show ALIEN CITIZEN: An Earth Odyssey, has begun its international tour. She co-hosts the podcast “Hapa Happy Hour,” leads a workshop on solo show writing and writes for


Fred SasakiFred Sasaki
“How to Hafu it All: Three Easy Steps to 100%”
Fred Sasaki is art director for Poetry magazine, a gallery curator for the Poetry Foundation, founding organizer of the Printers Ball, and co-founder of Homeroom Chicago’s “101″ lecture series. With his son and late father he is the author of the zine series, FRED SASAKI’S & FRED SASAKI’S FOUR PAGER GUIDE TO: HOW TO FIX YOU.


Tania Canas
Tania Canas
Tania Canas is the Arts Director at RISE Refugee, Australia’s first aid and advocacy organisation to be run and governed by refugees, asylum seekers and ex-detainees ( She is a second year PhD student at the University of Melbourne, and sits on the Editorial Board for the International PTO Academic Journal. Her one-scene monologue script “Untouchable” was published with Currency Press Australia 2013. For more:


Tangled Roots

Tangled Roots
Lladel Bryant, Adam Lowe, Katy Massey, Zodwa Nyoni
Four strangers meet on a train and share their stories. Have they more in common than they think? A live performance of true stories from the Tangled Roots Book of True Life Tales. Conceived by Dr. Katy Massey, adapted by Zodwa Nyoni and directed by The Cast. Tangled Roots is a programme of performance, workshops and books celebrating mixed race families in the UK.
For more:


Featured Films:
Not Quiete WhiteThurs, Nov 13 4:00-5:30pm Silk Road Rising presents Not Quite White: Arabs, Slavs, and the Contours of Contested Whiteness, (2012, 24 min 8 sec) directed by Jamil Khoury and Stephen Combs – screening and talk back session with Jamil Khoury.
A documentary film that explores the complicated relationship of Arab and Slavic immigrants to American notions of whiteness.


Finding Samuel Lowe

Fri, Nov 14, 3:15-5:00pm Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China (2014, 1 hour 28 min) – screening and Q&A with the executive producer Paula Williams Madison. 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.


A Lot Like YouSat, Nov 15, 10:45am-12:15pm A Lot Like You, (2012, 82 min) directed by Eliaichi Kimaro. Join the director for a round table discussion “Mixed Experiences on Screen” on Thurs, Nov 13 9:45-11:15am along with Jeff Chiba Stearns (Mixed Match), Megumi Nishikura (Hafu), and our Mixed Roots Stories keynote Zelie Asava.
Eliaichi Kimaro is a mixed-race, first-generation American with a Tanzanian father and Korean mother. When her retired father moves back to Tanzania, Eliaichi begins a project that evocatively examines the intricate fabric of multiracial identity, and grapples with the complex ties that children have to the cultures of their parents. A Lot Like You raises questions about the cultures we inherit and the cultures we choose to pass down, and reveals how simply bearing witness to another’s truth telling can break silences that have lasted lifetimes.



CMRS Conference organizer:
Camilla Fojas, Professor Latin American and Latino Studies and Vincent de Paul Professor
phone: (773) 325-4994

Mixed Roots Stories and arts programming contact and CMRS co-organizer:
Laura Kina, Professor Art, Media, & Design and Vincent de Paul Professor
phone: (773) 325-4048
For more information on Mixed Roots Stories visit:
Or contact the co-organizers Fanshen Cox DiGiovanni or Chandra Crudup at