Friday, April 19, 2019
On April 19-20, 2019, Professors Kathleen Belew and Ramón Gutiérrez, of the University of Chicago’s History Department, will convene a two-day conference on “Nativism, White Power, and Anti-Immigrant Violence in the United States.” The conference will be broadly inclusive of current humanities and social sciences research on the conference themes.
Violence against targeted groups has become a feature of the current moment. The news regularly features the separation of children and parents at the border, images of white power demonstrators parading with torches and swastikas, and stories of mass shootings motivated by white supremacy. This activity proliferates through multiple scales: performance, harassment, hate crimes, mass violence, political terror, and government policy. Significantly, the scholarship that has addressed this wide-ranging and capacious crisis of the republic has too rarely crossed the boundaries between narrowly defined subfields. This conference seeks to bring together the scholarly work on anti-immigrant, racist, islamophobic, antisemitic, populist, nationalist, and other varieties of targeted violence across multiple scales.
We endeavor first to structurally locate white backlash and the reemergence of militant white supremacists in the context of American politics over the last 60 years. We seek speakers to contextualize the impact the Civil Rights Movement had in the passage of the Civil Right Act (1964), the Voting Rights Act (1965), the Fair Housing Act (1968), and all the directives that followed. Many scholars locate the roots of white backlash in the economic transformation, radical changes to gender and racial power structures, and the changing nature of the state in the late twentieth century, and we therefore seek to excavate these root causes and evaluate their continued resonance, or lack thereof. The conference’s second goal is to empirically chronicle the many iterations of resurgent white nationalism, ranging from mainstream political discourse to the violent activism of the white power movement. Finally, we hope to explore varied notions of futurity and the possible solutions to the republic’s deep divides.
Recent issues of interest include the separation of families on the border as part of a long history of racialized immigration policy and policing; the history of border policing in context of calls to build a wall; attempts to question or undermine the citizenship of Mexican Americans in south Texas. We also hope to explore resurgent white power activism in both public-facing rallies and in underground preparations for violence.
The speaker schedule can be found here.
Event is free and open to the public with registration. Register here.
No large bags or backpacks will be allowed into the Assembly Hall.
This event is co-sponsored by International House Global Voices Program, the Center for the Study of Race, Politics & Culture, the Franke Institute, and the Global Studies Mobility Project.