June 7, 2012

Houston is the West, Right?

The Houston skyline, via Robert Agresta
It depends, of course, on how you define "the West" (an argument I do not intend to rehash here) -- but if you include Houston, then you might be interested in this call for papers that recently arrived:

The History Department and the Kinder Institute for Urban Research at Rice University request proposals for a conference, "The Past and Present of Race and Place in Houston, Texas" scheduled for February 2013 (pending funding). The conference will bring new work on the history of race in Houston into conversation with current investigations of the city's racial landscape in order to strengthen both areas of scholarship, probe the ways that historical and contemporary scholarship inform one another, and, in places, to highlight how such work offers solutions to current problems rooted in the ways race works, and has worked, in the city.

What is Houston's demographic history, and does that history portend anything for the future? What historical forces channeled particular racial, ethnic, and linguistic groups into specific Houston neighborhoods, and what contemporary forces are reinforcing or undoing these former trajectories? What role have racial ideologies played in shaping the political, social, educational, and physical landscapes of the city? How did neighborhood institutions, local communities, and individuals bolster or challenge economic, ethnic, and racial divisions within the city, and what, if any, are the contemporary legacies of such work? Has the city birthed racialized cultural productions in literature, and in the visual and performing arts particular to the city and important beyond it as well? How should what is known about the city at present shape what historians seek to gather about Houston's past? The conference will address these and other key questions.

Please send proposals and a cv to raceinhouston@rice.edu. The deadline for proposals is July 16, 2012. Paper proposals should be no more than 500 words.

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