Urbana-Champaign Conference

International Conference

Paradigms of Racialization: Alternative Sources

Date: April 18-19, 2024

Venue: 300 Levis Faculty Center, 919 W Illinois St, Urbana, IL 61801

University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Illinois, United States

Website: https://publish.illinois.edu/paradigms-of-racialization/program/

Organizing / scientific committee: Claire Bourhis-Mariotti, University Paris 8; Markian Dobczansky, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Heather Duncan, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Mauro Nobili, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; Amanda Smith, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

Sponsors: Albertine Foundation (formerly FACE Foundation); European Union Center at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; TransCrit at University Paris 8; Digital Islamic Studies Curriculum (DISC) at University of Michigan.

Conference Program

Day 1 – April 18, 2024

9:00 Welcome Remarks by the organizers

9:30-12:00 Panel One – Alternative Sources from the Medieval and Early Modern Worlds

Chair: Heather Duncan, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


  • Brian Sandberg, Northern Illinois University: “Sources of Islamophobia in Early Modern France and the Mediterranean World.”
  • Said Bousbina, independent researcher, and Mauro Nobili, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: “‘A wonderful country inhabited by Blacks'”. When Ahmad al-Mansur announced “his” conquest of the Bilad al-Sudan.”
  • Cord Whitaker, Wellesley College: “Forbidden Love: Medieval Romance as Critical Race Studies Archive.”
  • Craig Koslofsky: “Dermal marking, Whiteness, and Racialization: Tattooed Servants, Soldiers, and Sailors in the British Atlantic World, c. 1680 to 1750”

12:00-14:00 Lunch Break

14:00 – 16:00 Panel Two – Race and Racialization in Islamic Perspective

Chair: Kenneth M. Cuno, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


  • Jonathan Brown, Georgetown University: The Tanbīh al-ṭughyān ʿalā ḥurriyyat al-sūdān: The Argument of a Late-Nineteenth/Early-Twentieth-Century Rebuttal of Views on Race and Slavery in Morocco.”
  • Bruce Hall, University of California, Berkeley: “Race and decolonization in Africa: Muḥammad Maḥmūd ould al-Shaykh’s history of Timbuktu and the Azawad.”
  • Ismael Montana, Northern Illinois University: “Interrogating al-Timbuktawi’s Blacks of Tunis in Nineteenth Century-Tunisia: Racial Others or Enslavable Infidels?”
  • Khaled Esseissah, University of Wisconsin-Madison: “The Racial and Cultural Construction of Blackness and Whiteness in the Nineteenth-Century Sahara (now Mauritania)”

16:00-16:30 Coffee break

16:30-18:00 Keynote & Q&A

Yacine Daddi Addoun, Ibadica, Centre for Studies and Research on Ibadism:

“Race, Color and Slavery: A Perspective from Algeria”

Chair: Erik McDuffie, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

19:00 Dinner

Day 2– April 19, 2024

9:30-10:30 Panel Three: Race and racism in TV series, Hollywood Movies and Films

Chair: Markian Dobczansky, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


  • Flavia Ciontu, Université Paris 8: ““You are white … even if you are Russian”: Whiteness and Immigration in Moscow on the Hudson (1984)”
  • Sébastien Lefait, Aix-Marseille Université: “Introducing New Sources to Understand Hollywood’s Biased Treatment of Racism in the US.”
  • Damani Partridge, University of Michigan: “The Future as Archive: Noncitizen Films from Detroit, Philadelphia, and Berlin.”

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30 Panel Four – (Moving) images

Chair:  Suzie Telep, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


  • Juliette Bourdin, University Paris 8: “Dehumanizing the Chinese to justify their exclusion: the example of George Frederick Keller’s cartoons in the San Francisco Wasp (1876-1883)”
  • Amanda Smith, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign: “Race-ing Through Time: An Analysis of Black Women’s Bodies in French History and Now”
  • Vincenzo Bavaro, Università di Napoli: “Navigating Shadows: Black Actors in Blackface – A Study of Identity and Representation in Early Hollywood”

12:30-14:30 Lunch Break

14:30-16:00 Panel Five – The Public and Private in Writing History

Chair: Jane Desmond, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign


  • Augustin Habran, Université d’Orléans: “‘He came a long way to see his white brothers the Cherokees and the Creeks’: Indian Territory and the making of Cherokee racial legitimacy in the journal of Elijah Hicks.”
  • Lawrence Aje, Université Paul-Valéry Montpellier: “Re-membering: filling the archival voids of the history of slavery with prosopography.”
  • Claire Bourhis-Mariotti, University Paris 8: “‘The fact is, the Saxon and negro are the only positive races on this continent, and the two are destined to absorb into themselves all the others.’ Black Nationalist-Emigrationists’ Paradigm of Race: the Black Manifest Destiny?”

16:00-17:30 Workshop: selection of primary sources to be included in the final deliverable.

Chairs: Claire Bourhis-Mariotti and Mauro Nobili

19:30 Dinner

End of the conference