Patti O’Malley conference report 2017

Patti O’Malley is a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology. She recently received funding from the Faculty of AHSS to attend a conference, read her report below. 

In February 2017, I attended the biennial Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. This prestigious international Conference brings together both a scholarly and activist community to discuss and reflect on the global mixed ‘race’ experience.  The area of Critical Mixed Race Studies emphasises the concept of racialisation, the fluid and shifting nature of racial categories and the relationship between ‘race’, racism and existing power structures (Delgado and Stefancic 2001).

The theme of this year’s Conference was ‘Explorations in Trans (gender, gressions, migrations, racial) Fifty Years after Loving v. Virginia’. During the 3 day conference, the various panels, roundtables, poster sessions, exhibitors, film screenings, readings and performances all explored trans- and interracial encounters – e.g. transracial/ethnic identity, transnational migration, interracial relationships, multiracial families, the intersections of trans(gender) and mixed race identity. These explorations took place against the backdrop of the 50th Anniversary of the 1967 Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court Decision that declared anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

Indeed, the theme of transracial encounters is central to my PhD research which is entitled ‘The Transracial Mother/Child Dyad and the Politics of Citizenship in Ireland’. At the Conference, I presented a paper called ‘What does it mean to Belong in the ‘New’ Ireland? White Mothers and their Mixed ‘Race’ Irish Children’ which examined how the racialised dynamics of belonging are negotiated by both mother and child who are positioned differently vis-à-vis legitimate Irish citizenship. It is fair to say that the insightful and constructive feedback which I received from this international audience of specialists in the field of Critical Mixed Race Studies has greatly enhanced my PhD research as a whole.