2020 Association for Ethnic Studies Conference

Association for Ethnic Studies and ETHN at BGSU

Save the Date!

Association for Ethnic Studies / Department of Ethnic Studies at BGSU

2020 Conference

Nov. 5, 6, 7, 2020 | Bowling Green, Ohio

The Department of Ethnic Studies at Bowling Green State University, Ohio, is excited to host the 2020 Association for Ethnic Studies conference. In conjunction with the department’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of BGSU’s Ethnic Studies program, the conference will be an opportunity to look back upon the history of the scholarly field of ethnic studies and the social movements that forced the academy to accommodate it.

We invite proposals for papers and panels on all topics related to ethnic studies and social justice activism. All proposals will be reviewed by a committee including AES board members, BGSU Ethnic Studies faculty, and editors of the Ethnic Studies Review.  This committee also will select a number of papers for publication in a special edition of Ethnic Studies Review (Univ. of California Press).

Deadline for Proposals: May 15, 2020.
Proposals (500 words max.) should be submitted to conferenceaes@gmail.com
Acceptance notifications will be announced sometime in June 2020

Registration will Open May 15th

Student/Community Member Rate: $0
This category is intended for undergraduate and graduate students, community members, and others with limited or no institutional financial support.

AES Member Faculty Rate: $90
This category is intended for faculty members and staff of non-profits or other organizations that may be able to provide institutional financial support.

Non-Member Faculty Rate: $125
This category is intended for faculty members and staff of non-profits or other organizations that may be able to provide institutional financial support.


The Association for Ethnic Studies (AES) has a long history dating back to the early 1970s. It began with a small group of scholars in the Midwest who, in 1972, saw a need for an organization which would bring together those interested in an interdisciplinary approach to the national and international dimensions of ethnicity. From their work came the National Association of Interdisciplinary Studies for Native-American, Black, Chicano, Puerto Rican, and Asian Americans. The objective of this organization was to serve as a forum for promoting research, study, curriculum design, and publication of interest to its members.

The Association sponsored its first conference on ethnic and minority studies in 1973 in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. At the conference, university and college professors, public school teachers, and students gathered to examine content and approaches to multicultural studies. The association developed in tandem with the academic field of Ethnic Studies. Ethnic Studies grew out of the civil rights movement and the concerns of minority students on college campuses throughout the United States. Campus strikes began in the 1960s, driven by the demands of students of color and others in the Third World Liberation Front demanding an increase of students and faculty of color and a more comprehensive curriculum that spoke to the concerns and needs of marginalized communities. The result of these initial battles was the establishment of the School of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University and the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

During this time of struggle for power, place, and representation, the association supported student actions and worked to foster interdisciplinary discussions for scholars, activists, and community members concerned with national and international aspects of race and ethnicity. In 1985 the association officially changed its name to National Association for Ethnic Studies (NAES) with the stated purpose of the promotion of activities and scholarship in ethnic studies. In2017, NAES changed its name to Association for Ethnic Studies to reflect the global nature of the movement that once began as an US phenomenon.

Today, AES members continue to examine the interlocking forces of domination that are rooted in socially constructed categories of gender, sexuality, class, and race, and are committed to challenging paradigms that systematically marginalize the experiences of diverse national and international populations. As scholars and researchers, AES members are also committed to nurturing civic-minded and culturally informed students to strive to strengthen their communities.

AES is incorporated as a non-profit corporation in the State of Wisconsin and conducts all business in accordance with its bylaws. The Association is recognized by the Internal Revenue Service as a 501(c)(3) educational organization and its contributions are tax-deductible. The AES bylaws contain rules that define who we are, what we do, and how we are governed. The bylaws establish a contract between members and define their rights, duties, and mutual obligations.

In 1970, amid vigorous student protests at BGSU, a Black Studies Committee  was organized, “to bring students into direct creative contact with non-white experiences...”  The committee won approval for the founding of an Ethnic Studies Center and the appointment of its director, Dr. Robert Perry, making Bowling Green one of the first Midwestern institutions to have such a program. In 1978 and 1979, James Baldwin was a resident scholar and his legacy continues to leave its mark on the pedagogical, intellectual, and activist strengths of the department. In 1979 the program successfully petitioned the university for department status. 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the Ethnic studies program at BGSU.


More details about the conference will be coming soon. For questions contact Timothy Messer-Kruse, tmesser@bgsu.edu