Rutgers University (New Brunswick), Center for Race and Ethnicity has announced the dates for its interdisciplinary conference, Race & Retail: Consumer Culture, Economic Citizenship, and Power. The conference will be held Friday, May 4, 2012 on the New Brunswick campus of Rutgers, State University of New Jersey. The deadline for proposals is February 29.
Although everyone’s money is green, shopping had long been closely associated with racial and ethnic divisions.
While the formal abolition of segregation has expanded integrated retail spaces, even in the post Civil Rights movement era retail establishments market themselves to specific communities, mirroring the patterns of residential segregation that continue to divide towns and cities into racial and ethnic neighborhoods. African American shopping districts remain common in many urban areas, while many elite shopping districts still cater largely to wealthy whites. In recent years Koreatowns, Chinatowns, Hispanic shopping centers and other ethnic retail spaces have sprung up to serve immigrant communities in American cities and suburbs. Meanwhile, patterns of consumption, access to credit, levels of wealth, buying and social status also tend to vary greatly among different groups, creating distinctive experiences of race and retail even within integrated spaces.
This conference will build on recent scholarship on race, retail, and the service industry to both explore these experiences and to delve into questions of race and buying power, inequality, patterns of consumption, or discriminatory practice. It aims to bring together scholars from a wide range of disciplines – history, sociology, cultural studies, law, business, anthropology, economics, ethnic studies, and other fields – to examine the emerging and often complex connections between race, consumption, and power.