Monday, December 6, 2021

Call for papers, other forms of participation, and ideas

Race, Ethnicity, Language, and Culture: Advocating for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Academy

A symposium organized by the Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures (DWLLC) at the University of Iowa, supported by an International Programs Major Projects Grant.

Dates: October 6-8, 2022

Following the resurgence of protests against racialized police violence since May 2020, citizens, activists, artists, and academic communities across the globe have renewed efforts to reflect on and respond to issues of race and ethnicity and racial and ethnic discrimination. The Division of World Languages, Literatures and Cultures has joined these efforts.

Racial and ethnic hatred is increasing around the world. As educators, we share the University of Iowa’s initiatives in the area of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and the goal of supporting students on the path to becoming antiracist global citizens. Antiracism is the “active process of identifying and eliminating racism by changing systems, organizational structures, policies and practices and attitudes, so that power is redistributed and shared equitably” (The National Action Committee on the Status of Women International Perspectives: Women and Global Solidarity).

Becoming an antiracist is always a work in progress and depends on who you are. The public discussion of antiracism is informed by research in a diverse array of fields including sociology, English, African-American Studies, linguistics, literary and cultural studies, and media studies.

Part of understanding race in America means understanding that anti-Blackness, ethnic discrimination, and colonialism are global issues. Acknowledging and addressing structural inequalities in the cultures that DWLLC and its constituent units represent, and how they advantage some and disadvantage others, is an essential part of our curricula and research programs, and innovative learning takes place in many forms. We look forward to a multidisciplinary dialogue and exchange of ideas concerning global ethnic and antiracism studies.

The following scholars have confirmed participation as plenary speakers:

  • Aris Clemons (University of Tennessee Knoxville. Hispanic Linguistics, raciolinguistics, intersections of language, race, and identity)
  • Priscilla Layne (University of North Carolina. Critical Race Studies, German, African-American Studies)
  • Corine Tachtiris (University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Translation Studies and World Literature) Note: In case of travel complications, participation via video platform will be possible, and the keynote

lectures will be streamed.

Recognizing that innovative learning takes place in many forms, we intend the Symposium on Race, Ethnicity, Language, and Culture to include not only traditional presentation formats, but also novel, action-oriented, and strongly participatory methods that will help to make the most of participants’ collective expertise and knowledge. We invite a wide range of ideas and formats including designing

units that emphasize racial literacy, selecting literature that highlights voices of color and ethnic minorities, analyzing Whiteness in canonical literature, examining texts through a critical race lens, managing the challenges of talking about race, ethnicity, and identity, etc.

The organizers envision publishing select reworked presentations for a special volume of a professional journal or a monograph series.

Submission date: March 10, 2022 (earlier submissions are welcome and encouraged). Please send ideas for individual or group participation or a short abstract of less than 250 words for an individual or group presentation, plus one paragraph of biographical information, to Rebekah Podolefsky (, DWLLC Operations Coordinator.

Organizing committee:

  • Waltraud Maierhofer, Chair (German; Global Health Studies Program)
  • Jill Beckman (Linguistics)
  • Denise Filios (Spanish and Portuguese)
  • Kristine Muñoz (Spanish and Portuguese)
  • Helen Shen (Asian and Slavic Languages and Literatures)
  • Jan Steyn (DWLLC; French)

Please send your inquiries to any of the above committee members (for example Feel free to share this call in your network.