Waking up from the American Dream: The Sober Reality of Class in the United States

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For generations the myth of meritocracy and upward mobility has silenced critical voices opposed to the disparate distribution of wealth and power in the United States. In this time of ever-growing economic uncertainty, an honest exploration of the phenomenon of class could not be more relevant.

On Saturday, February 25, 2012, academics, community activists, practitioners, and students will come together for the UNC School of Law's 16th Annual Conference on Race, Class, Gender, and Ethnicity to present a critical analysis of the role of class in the United States. This year's conference will join the growing project of rejuvenating this analysis in our understanding of the world and culture in which we live. We hope to encourage a heterodox approach grounded in the intersection of an honest exploration of class and the realities of racial, feminist, ethnic, and queer identities. It is our goal to break from the prevalent isolation of class identity within classic critical theory to create a narrative that has the potential to be truly inclusive, transformative, and galvanizing in broader communities.

We will start at the heart of class construction, exploring the roots of class, its relation to both overlapping identities of oppression and to normalizing discourse. Equipped with this de-centered and integrated view, we will deconstruct the hierarchies and institutions that define the American landscape and the inequalities they perpetuate. Finally, we will delve into responses to these realities, transcending the commonplace legal discourse and laying the groundwork for a horizontal and inclusive narrative that aspires to collective vision.

Additional Information

UNC School of Law | Van Hecke-Wettach Hall | 160 Ridge Road, CB #3380 | Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3380 | 919.962.5106
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