Mills College Presents 42nd Annual National Association for Ethnic Studies Conference

Oakland, California (EastBayDaily) — In 1969 Mills College was among the first colleges to establish an Ethnic Studies Program, the same year the discipline itself was founded in the United States. In keeping with its commitment to incorporate the experiences and insights of people of color into higher education, Mills College will host the 42nd annual National Association for Ethnic Studies (NAES) conference titled, Research as Ceremony: Decolonizing Ethnic Studies, from April 3–5, 2014.

A nonprofit organization and the nation's oldest ethnic studies association, NAES provides an interdisciplinary forum for scholars and activists concerned with the national and international dimensions of ethnicity.

Hosted by the Mills College Ethnic Studies Department in partnership with the National Association for Ethnic Studies, and DataCenter: Research for Justice, the three-day long event will explore three conference themes: research justice, decolonizing ethnic studies, and critical intersectionality. The conference seeks to restore and renew the critical purpose of ethnic studies as a way toward self-determination, social justice, and intersectional praxis through these themes.

“The conference will bring together scholars, activists, tribal leaders, grassroots organizers, and community-based organizations who view research justice as a critical, intersectional praxis that can unlock the power and knowledge of our own communities both within and outside of academia,” said Julia C. Oparah, conference co-chair and chair of the Mills College Ethnic Studies Department.

Participants will have the opportunity to learn about research justice and the sacredness of research as a ceremonial act. According to the DataCenter, which coined the term in 2009, research justice is a strategic framework that seeks to transform structural inequities in research.

The conference includes a special off-site convening Friday evening, April 4, 2014, at the First Congregational Church in downtown Oakland. Andrew Jolivette, chair of American Indian Studies at San Francisco State University , will moderate a conversation titled, “Research Justice: Decolonizing Knowledge, Building Power” that will feature Angela Y. Davis, Jason Ferreira, and Chief Caleen Sisk.

A sampling of sessions and presentations is listed below. For a complete schedule of events and for more information visit the conference website.

Sessions and Presentations Ceremony as Praxis: Critical Intersectionality as a Decolonizing Project Sandra C. Alvarez, UC Santa Cruz; Cindy Rose Bello, UC Berkeley; Sara Benson, San Jose State University; Soma de Bourbon, San Jose State University; Ruth Kim, University of San Francisco; Susy Zepeda, UC Davis Abolitionist Futures, Community Accountability, and Emerging Movements to Transform Violence Clarissa Rojas, CSU Long Beach; Mimi Kim, UC Berkeley; Alisa Bierria, UC Berkeley; Andrea Smith, UC Riverside

Research Justice for Reproductive Justice: Taking Back Our Bodies Julia Chinyere Oparah, Mills College; Linda Jones, Birth and Postpartum Doula; Talita Oseguera, Black Women Birthing Justice; Kimala Price. San Diego State University; Monica McLemore, UCSF

Spiritual Activism, Curandismo, and Decolonization Agustin Palacios, Contra Costa College; Mara Diaz-Chavez, UC Berkeley

Ethnic Studies and Community Action Carlos Salomon, Cal State East Bay; Justin Blea, UNITE HERE; Jesus Barraza and Melanie Cervantes, Dignidad Rebelde; Jose Malvido, Peace and Dignity Journeys Theory in the Flesh: Healing as a Political Act Sara Salazar, California Institute for Integral Studies (CIIS); Michelle Gutierrez, CIIS; Mara Diaz-Chavez, UC Berkeley

NAES 2014 Conference Convenings Opening Convening: “Critical Intersectionality as a Framework to Decolonize Ethnic Studies” Thursday, April 3, 2014 5:00 pm–7:30 pm Mills College, Lisser Hall

Off-site Convening: “Research Justice: Decolonizing Knowledge, Building Power” Friday, April 4, 2014 7:00 pm–9:30 pm First Congregational Church 2501 Harrison Street Oakland, CA

Closing Convening: Ethnic Studies Congress Saturday, April 5, 2014 10:30 am–12.30 pm Mills College, Lisser Hall

About Mills College Nestled in the foothills of Oakland, California, Mills College is a nationally renowned, independent liberal arts college offering a dynamic progressive education that fosters leadership, social responsibility, and creativity in approximately 1,000 undergraduate women and 600 graduate women and men. The College ranks as one of the Best 378 Colleges in the country and one of the greenest colleges in the nation by The Princeton Review. U.S. News & World Report ranked Mills one of the top-tier regional universities in the country and lists it among the top colleges and universities in the West in the “Great Schools, Great Prices’’ category. For more information, visit


Jeanne Herrera