Skip to main content

CALL FOR PAPERS – ‘Skin Tone, “Colourism” and “Passing”’


The Race in the Americas (RITA) group, in partnership with the Centre for Ethnicity and Racism Studies (CERS), seeks abstract submissions on the theme of skin tone, ‘colourism’ and ‘passing’.

The seminar will be held on Saturday 8 March 2014, at the University of Leeds.

Submissions might include, but are not restricted to, research on the following topics:

  • ‘Colourism’ as a prejudice within racial groups with regard to skin tone;
  • The social implications of individuals passing as one race instead of another;
  • The impact of ‘passing’ on the politics of representation and governance;
  • The creation of space for a multi-ethnic identity: what is that space and does it exist?  Are individuals forced to identify with one ethnicity over another?;
  • Racial identity as a performance through clothing, speech and patterns of consumption;
  • The proliferation of chemical products to lighten or darken skin tone and what this means for understandings of ‘race’;
  • Cultural systems of caste classification and translations of skin tone into political structures;
  • The role of skin tone in influencing confidence, and in determining social status within a power structure that privileges whiteness;

Submissions are requested from early career scholars, PhD candidates and established academics in law, sociology, history, politics, anthropology, gender studies, social policy, biology, medicine, history, film and TV studies, music, literary and language studies, media studies, medicine, journalism, geography, business and psychology.

Please send proposals of 250 – 300 words for a 20 minute presentation along with a brief biography to by Friday 13 December, 2013.  For further information please go to  Attendance will be free of charge.  Refreshments will be available.

This seminar is one of four events in the Race in the Americas (RITA) Regional Seminar Series, which is generously supported by the Institute for the Study of the Americas, School of Advanced Study.