April 28, 2004

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Contact: Glenn Adams, Psychology, (785) 864-9481.

Psychology conference to review past and future research on racism, discrimination

LAWRENCE -- Psychologists and researchers from across the nation will join others at the University of Kansas May 13 and 14 for a public conference to examine the continuing significance of racism in people's lives 50 years after the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision.

Titled "50 years after Brown v. Board of Education: Social Psychological Research Applied to Problems of Racism and Discrimination," the conference coincides with the May 17, 1954, anniversary date of the U.S. Supreme Court decision that ended the legal basis for racial segregation in public schools.

Approximately 100 participants are expected to attend the two-day event. On May 13, they will focus the social and historical context of racism and discrimination in the United States. The second day will focus on emerging directions in research on racism and discrimination.

Registration is free and open to the public, but conference organizers are asking people to register online in advance to help plan for the events. Registration information, the conference schedule and abstracts of feature presentations are available online at http://www.psych.ku.edu/Brown.

Formal presentations begin at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 13, in the Kansas and Malott rooms of the Kansas Union at KU. Researchers will examine the role of organized psychology's efforts to influence the Supreme Court on matters of race and education, intergroup relations research and the effects of cultural representations, such as sports mascots, on the psychological and educational well-being of American Indians.

Joe R. Feagin, a national researcher on race and discrimination, will give the keynote address at 5:30 p.m. May 13 in the Kansas Room. Feagin will discuss "Legacies of Brown: Success and Failure in Social Science Research on Racism." Feagin teaches at the University of Florida and will join the faculty at Texas A&M University next fall. He is the former president of the American Sociology Association.

Friday's presentations will focus on recent Michigan cases as continuing the tradition of Brown v. Board of Education, the relationship between standardized testing and discrimination, the value of racial diversity in education, the damage of discrimination and the implications of increasing cultural diversity in education.

Symposia discussions are scheduled at 3:45 p.m. both days. Topics will cover four broad topics: an indigenous nations perspective on racism, white racial identity, racism and discrimination in the justice system, and racism and discrimination in education.

The Science Directorate of the American Psychological Association, the National Science Foundation, and the American Psychology and Law Society are sponsoring the conference. The goal of the conference is to energize researchers in psychology and related fields to respond to the pressing need for socially relevant, activist research in the spirit represented by Brown v. Board of Education.

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