January 24, 2006
To: Puget Sound Campus Community
From: President Ron Thomas
I write to announce formally an important and, I believe, historic event for next fall: the Race and Pedagogy National Conference to be hosted by the University of Puget Sound on September 14-16, 2006.
This conference is being planned by a steering committee composed of faculty and staff, in conjunction with a range of community leaders. The conference will bring together scholars, teachers, and students to discuss the implications of race in higher education, particularly in liberal arts colleges. The conference will provide an opportunity for members of the campus community to join with academic colleagues from our region and across the nation, as well as community leaders and teachers of the greater Tacoma/Pierce County area, to consider how we can, together, improve the racial-cultural experiences of all students and prepare them for citizenship and leadership in a diverse world where race continues to matter. I invite you to be an active participant in the conference events.
In coordination with the conference, on the evening of September 14, noted scholar and public intellectual, Princeton University’s Professor Cornel West will present the 2006 Susan Resneck Pierce Lecture on Public Policy at the Memorial Fieldhouse, followed by a reception and book signing at Tacoma’s International Museum of Glass and Contemporary Art. The acclaimed author of <> and <>, among other works, Professor West is one of the most respected authorities on the subject of this conference.
On Friday, September 15, three prominent speakers will deliver plenary talks on campus to lead the conference themes:
1) Race, Knowledge, and Disciplinarity will explore how specific academic disciplines negotiate the issue of race and the ways race enables and/or constrains the production of knowledge.
2) Racial Dynamics and Racial Performances in the Classroom (and beyond) will explore the ways students and teachers embody and perform race, and the ways racial dynamics affect behavior inside and outside the classroom.
3) Race, Pedagogy, and Community will explore the relationships to broader communities that can be developed by students, teachers, administrators, and the educational institutions they make up.
The conference will include panel discussions, refereed paper presentations, and a poster session during the conference to which all members of the campus are invited. I particularly encourage members of the faculty to review the call for papers and panel proposals (www.ups.edu/raceandpedagogy) and to submit proposals by the February 15th deadline. The conference will also offer workshop and performance events, including an exhibition and dramatic presentation by Museum of Glass featured artist Joyce Scott. Further information and invitations to conference events will be forthcoming in the months ahead.
The Race and Pedagogy National Conference can be a signature event for the University of Puget Sound. It is an event that will be groundbreaking for us in addressing issues of race in teaching and learning. It is, as well, an event that we hope to establish as an annual catalyst for thoughtful and ongoing educational leadership in the work of civil rights and social justice.