Re-Envisioning Race in a ‘Post-Racial’ Era: New Approaches in Critical Race Theory

Yale Law School
127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT
Saturday, April 5, 2014
(with informal events on Friday, April 4, 2014)

Registration Deadlines: 

Early Registration: ends February 15
Regular Registration: February 16 – March 29
Late Registration: March 30 – April 3


Keynotes by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw and Professor Devon Carbado 

Intersectionality on the Body: Policing the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women of Color

From slavery to eugenics, the sexual and reproductive rights of women of color have been continually violated or constrained. How do public health policies, criminal laws, and other legal mechanisms express and shape public perceptions of the sexuality of women of color? This panel will explore topics such as New York City’s use of condom possession as circumstantial evidence of prostitution, recent pro-life and pro-choice campaigns targeting black women, and other policies and messages that continue to exert control over the bodies of women of color.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Kate Mogulescu, New York Legal Aid Society Trafficking Victims Legal Defense and Advocacy Project
  • Angela Onwuachi-Willig, The University of Iowa College of Law
  • Akiba Solomon, Managing Editor,

Looking to the Bottom: CRT and Immigrants’ Rights

Critical race theory encourages us to “look to the bottom” to determine the impact of contentious issues and difficult dynamics. What does the immigration debate look like from this perspective? Do immigrant workers present a threat or an opportunity for progress for American-born low-wage workers, including racial minorities? In setting immigration policy, to what degree does potential displacement of American-born workers matter? What are points of tension, and opportunities to ally?

Confirmed Panelists:

  • César Cuauhtémoc García Hernández, Associate Professor, Capital University Law and Blogger,
  • Kevin R. Johnson, Dean, Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law, and Professor of Chicana/o Studies at University of California-Davis Law
  • Loreli Salas, Legal Director, Make the Road New York

Resisting Post-Racialism: Strategies for Asserting the Continuing Salience of Racial Discrimination

In recent years, the Supreme Court has maligned critical civil rights legislation as promoting “racial entitlements” and asserted that “the only way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.” Voting rights protections and affirmative action are just two of the major anti-discrimination policies that have been on the chopping block this year. Within this context, how can race advocates continue to argue for the ongoing significance of race and measures designed to correct historic and ongoing discrimination? Where we’re precluded from making these arguments inside the courtroom, how can we make them outside, in the court of public opinion?

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Sumi Cho, Professor, DePaul College of Law
  • Imani Henry, Diversity Trainer and Organizational Development Consultant, OD for the People
  • Darren L. Hutchinson, Stephen C. O’Connell Professor of Law, University of Florida Levin College of Law
  • Athena D. Mutua, Professor, SUNY Buffalo Law School

The Dangers of Discretion in Criminal Justice

Many members of the public support the ability of the law enforcement officers and the criminal justice system to exercise discretion. Popular narratives suggest that the purpose of such discretion is to enable police officers, juries, prosecutors and others to examine the totality of the circumstances and show mercy where warranted. Yet the exercise of discretion has substantial discriminatory impacts on marginalized communities. Because such discretion is legally permissible, it is nearly impossible for advocates for marginalized communities to prove unlawful discrimination. This panel will explore the issue of discretion in the context of stop-and-frisk, prosecutorial power, drug enforcement, and the death penalty. Panelists will explore the pitfalls and promise of discretionary and mandatory policies in these contexts.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Amna Akbar, Visiting Assistant Professor, Moritz College of Law
  • Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele, Senior Organizer, NAACP-Legal Defense Fund Criminal Justice Project

The Master’s House: Navigating Race in Institutions of Power

Critical race theorists are in the paradoxical and often uncomfortable position of making full-time careers out of critiquing dominant institutions – often the very institutions in which they have made their careers. What kind of change is possible from within? What sacrifices must one make to walk that path? This panel explores the tensions inherent in trying to dismantle the master’s house with the master’s tools. It will examine recent scholarship that focuses on people of color in majority-white educational institutions.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Luke C. Harris, Associate Professor of Political Science, Vassar College and Director of Programs / Chairman of the Board of Directors, the African American Policy Forum
  • Cheryl I. Harris, Rosalinde and Arthur Gilbert Professor in Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, UCLA School of Law
  • Nancy Leong, Assistant Professor, Sturm College of Law, University of Denver

Media Matters: Flipping the Script on Race

Popular dialogues about criminal justice issues, politics, housing, and other racially charged topics help to shape the public’s ideas about the role of race in the law. What are practical strategies for intervening in media narratives to change the conversation around race and the law? In this session, four media experts will share their experiences using the media as a strategic tool for racial justice and impart concrete strategies for flipping the script on race.

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Kiese Laymon, Associate Professor of English, Vassar College
  • Akiba Solomon, Managing Editor,
  • Chyng Sun, Clinical Associate Professor of Media Studies at McGhee Division, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, New York University

Federal Indian Law

Description coming soon – please check back!

Confirmed Panelists:

  • Kristen Carpenter, Associate Professor of Law and Co-Director, American Indian Law Program, University of Colorado Law School
  • Matthew Fletcher, Professor of Law and Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Wenona Singel, Associate Professor of Law & Associate Director of the Indigenous Law & Policy Center, Michigan State University College of Law
  • Angela R. Riley, Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law; Director, UCLA American Indian Studies Center; and Co-Director, Native Nations Law and Policy Center
  • Gerald Torres, Bryant Smith Chair in Law, University of Texas at Austin School of Law

Class Privilege and its Implications for CRT Practitioners

Critical race theory is a radical challenge to race privilege within the law. Nevertheless,  because CRT is an academic and theoretical enterprise, many of its proponents have benefitted from class privilege, as a result of either privileged upbringings and/or because of the well-paid, well-respected positions they now hold. This colloquy will explore how this dynamic affects how CRT is conceptualized and practiced. To what extent does, and should CRT engage class issues? What are critical ways of examining our own class backgrounds in the context of race work?

Email all questions to: [email protected]