PUBLISHED:March 25, 2010

Center on Law, Race and Politics hosts conference on race in America, April 8-10

A conference at Duke Law School April 8-10 will bring together diverse experts to examine issues they believe should be at the heart of a meaningful public discourse on race in America.

“From Slavery to Freedom to the White House: Race in 21st-Century America, a Conference in Honor of John Hope Franklin,” is open to the public and all panel discussions are free. The discussions will take place in Room 4047 of Duke Law School, located at the corner of Science Drive and Towerview Road on Duke’s West Campus. Parking is available at the Bryan Center.

Conference participants come from a range of disciplines such as law, history, social psychology, economics, political science and the humanities. The full Thursday-Saturday conference schedule and list of participants is online.

In a series of roundtable discussions, participants will examine such issues as the role that race plays in politics and the significance of the Obama presidency; the future of voting rights, civil rights and racial justice; the causes and implications of interracial disparities in wealth; how social psychology can inform our understanding of societal disparities; and how immigration factors into many of these issues.

Journalists Brent Staples and Ray Suarez and Harvard sociologist Orlando Patterson will offer keynote remarks at the event.

“Our goal is to identify questions about the future of race or racial inequality that merit examination but are not currently being addressed or are given insufficient attention in scholarly and public discourse,” said Duke Law Professor Guy-Uriel Charles, co-director of Duke’s Center on Law, Race and Politics. “For example, to what extent is race something other than a site of grievance? To what extent is it simply a negative, victim-centered framework and to what extent ought it be a more positive, empowering framework? Should — can — we reframe the stories we tell about race?”

Charles and his co-convener, professor Kenneth Mack of Harvard Law School, anticipate the discussion will support the development of a sustainable, collaborative, and interdisciplinary community of scholars committed to a long-term, in-depth discussion of these issues.

The conference honors historian John Hope Franklin’s life and work, which were devoted to understanding the impact of racism on American life. Franklin taught at Duke Law School late in his career.

The event is sponsored by Duke Law School’s Center on Law, Race and Politics and co-sponsored by the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute at Duke.