Critical Mixed Race Studies

What is Critical Mixed Race Studies?

Critical Mixed Race Studies is a contemporary and blossoming field within the schools of Sociology, Anthropology and Law; and an offshoot of Critical Race Theory.

Why the word “Critical”? I thought it meant the topic was critically important – but that would be an arrogant way to describe a course; as if: “My course on Race Theory is so critical that you must learn it.” So I asked the expert, Steve Riley of Mixed Race Studies.  He explained that the word “critical” is used with the meaning of critiquing. So “Critical Mixed Races Studies” means critiquing the concepts of mixed race.

Mr. Riley also put me in touch with Dr. Rainier Spencer, author of Reproducing Race: The Paradox of Generation Mix. Dr. Spencer said that the word critical also means to have a “sharper and more objective lens” on the topic.

Here are some of the pioneering universities leading the way in the pedagogy of ‘race’ and ‘mixed race’. Please add more critical mixed race courses in the comments below.

 University Department Conference, Class, or Program
 UCLA School of Law Critical Race Theory
 DePaul University AfricanAsian & Latin American Studies 2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference
 Harvard Government
African and African American Studies
American Politics 
Politics of Race, Ethnicity, and ImmigrationTransformation of the American Racial Order?
 Stanford Center for Comparative Studies on Race and Ethnicity Various
 University of Nevada, Las Vegas Anthropology Cultural Anthropology
 University of Washington College of Arts & Sciences Mixed Identities and Racialized Bodies


Just this year, in spring 2011,  the University of Washington has had it’s first Mixed Identities and Racialized Bodies class. It’s fascinating to see history in the making. Here is the actual New Course Application submitted to the Curriculum Review Committee at the University of Washington.

Professor Laura Kina has written a detailed account of the inaugural 2010 Critical Mixed Race Studies conference held at DePaul University at which 430 people attended. Her article is titled Watershed Moment for Critical Mixed Race Studies. Kina describes Critical Mixed Race Studies as being focused on multiracial, interracial, and transracial adoption populations and concerned with social justice.

You can register for the 2012 Critical Mixed Race Studies Conference which will be held at DePaul University in Chicago on November 1-4, 2012

If you would like to read more about this growing field you can find over 3,000 articles on Steven Riley’s website, Mixed Race Studies, and there is a smaller collection at



Glenn Robinson

Glenn Robinson

Glenn is a European-American married to a Mexican-American. They have two children. Glenn is interested in progressive immigration reform, and desegregation within schools and communities. He is a life long learner with interests in sociology, anthropology, psychology, history and politics.
Glenn Robinson
Multicultural Bloggers
  • Chantilly Pati&ntild

    Great article Glenn!  I had no idea that we had several universities with departments examining mixed race studies. That's great!  I've never heard of this conference either, so I'm definitely going to look into that.  By the way, are you planning to attend?

    • Glenn Robinson

      Thank you Chantilly =) I'd love to attend the conference, but I'm not sure if the trip will fit into my budget (airplane ticket and hotel) with us having two kids now. 

      • Chantilly Pati&ntild

        Right…it adds up for sure!

  • Stephanie Meade


    Also found this:

    Even when I was there in the 90s they were doing classes on race. Not sure if they have any on mixed race now, but I bet they would.  Great to see all the schools with these classes.

  • Stephanie @InCultureParent


    When I was there in the 90s they had classes on race then too. Not sure about mixed race now, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    Great to see all these initiatives at universities!

  • Jen Marshall Duncan

     I am glad to know that so many universities are offering coursework on the mixed experience! I live only hours from Chicago and the conference is FREE so I am going to try to check it out.  Thanks for writing about this, Glenn!

    • Glenn Robinson

      You're welcome Jen =)

  • Glenn Robinson

    Here are about 50 more University classes from around the country. Thank you to Steven F. Riley of Mixed Race Studies for the list:&nbsp ;

  • Pingback: Critical Mixed Race Studies | Mixed American Life()