An ongoing conference series and professional network community by and for scholars of color working on issues of race in premodern literature, history, and culture.

Pushing the field in new directions

RaceB4Race is an ongoing conference series and professional network community by and for scholars of color working on issues of race in premodern literature, history, and culture. RaceB4Race centers the expertise, perspectives, and sociopolitical interests of BIPOC scholars, whose work seeks to expand critical race theory.

Bridging many traditional disciplinary divides, RaceB4Race not only creates innovative scholarly dialogues, but also fosters social change within premodern studies as a whole.

RaceB4Race is brought to life by the Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies in partnership with The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Division of Humanities and the Hitz Foundation

An intellectual bridge

The inaugural RaceB4Race conference emerged as a collaboration between the Medievalists of Color (MOC) and the ShakeRace (Shakespeare and Race) community, groups that were both seeking to push their fields in new archival, theoretical, methodological, pedagogical, and practical directions.

The catalyst for the event was the rejection of proposals for sessions on race and antiracism by Medievalists of Color in favor of sessions proposed by their white colleagues by the International Congress of Medieval Studies (ICMS) in Kalamazoo, MI. RaceB4Race offered an “alternate home” for the rejected MOC sessions and a much-needed opportunity for a collaboration between the MOC and ShakeRace communities. In the end, the inaugural RaceB4Race event demonstrated to the world how our understandings of periodization, historicity and even academic disciplines can become more expansive once race is acknowledged as a viable lens of investigation.

Upcoming RaceB4Race events

RaceB4Race Politics

May 4-7, 2021
Brandeis University

This symposium invites scholars of history, literature, and other disciplines in the premodern eras to consider how the past frames the politics of race, how the politics of the past have influenced race in our disciplines, and how the politics of the present intrude upon, expropriate, and capitalize on these trends. In addition, this event will in particular focus on how the practices of scholarship and pedagogy engage with the politics of race and the racialization of politics in our disciplines.

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RaceB4Race Partners

Folger Shakespeare Library

King's College London

Brandeis University

The Newberry Library

Rutgers University

University of Toronto

Shakespeare's Globe

The University of Chicago

RaceB4Race executive board 

  • Patricia Akhimie (Rutgers University, Newark)
  • David Sterling Brown (Binghamton University)
  • Seeta Chaganti (University of California, Davis)
  • Urvashi Chakravarty (University of Toronto)
  • Kim F. Hall (Barnard College)
  • Jonathan Hsy (George Washington University)
  • Farah Karim-Cooper (Shakespeare's Globe)
  • Dorothy Kim (Brandeis University)
  • Noémie Ndiaye (University of Chicago)
  • Shokoofeh Rajabzadeh (University of California, Berkeley)
  • Scott Manning Stevens (Syracuse University)
  • Carla María Thomas (Florida Atlantic University)
  • Ayanna Thompson (Arizona State University)
  • Cord Whitaker (Wellesley College)
RaceB4Race executive board

Past RaceB4Race events

Check out the archive of past RaceB4Race events. Programs are available for download for all symposia, and many of the more recent events are recorded and available to watch on our YouTube channel

View past events


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Learn more about our awards, grants, and fellowships. 

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