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Workshop : On race statistics


Jeudi, 22 Septembre 2011 - 11:30am to Vendredi, 23 Septembre 2011 - 11:30am

National Debates on Race Statistics : towards an International Comparison

The Collège d’Etudes Mondiales / FMSH and SIPA /Columbia University have opened up a process of reflection on the global issues and conflicts stemming from what the French call “diversity statistics” or “ethnic statistics”, and more specifically on how race/ethnic/ancestry statistics available to governments constrain policy responses in the domains of social justice and immigrant integration.

A first conference, organized in September 2011 in New York (SIPA/ Columbia University) brought together twelve specialists from the US and France for a period of two days. Conference participants have engaged, on both sides of the Atlantic, in these debates, and the conference didn’t rehash them. It did, however, recast them in light of US and French concerns over immigrant integration in the 21st century and, more generally, in ways in which demographic statistics shape how nations govern heterogeneous populations. This working paper offers three of the conference papers.

Under the responsibility of Hervé Le Bras, one the College’s chair, a series of additional conferences, featuring a comparative approach, is planned in the near future, progressively introducing the BRIC countries: India, Brazil, Russia, and China.


Sept. 22: Thursday

Closed discussion

Thursday  morning -   with respect to government race/ethnic statistics, the US participants will explain to the French participants where we are, how we got here, where we should be going, can we get there, etc.

Thursday afternoon -- the above in reverse, with the French arguments being laid out by the French participants.

Thursday late afternoon (4:30 to 6:00) – Conference : "Should the French Government Collect Race Statistics: A Debate" presented by Michel Wieviorka and Herve Le Bras, with questions from all of you and Kenneth Prewitt as Chair).

Thursday night working dinner - with Kathy Wallman, Chief Statistician of US, and Nicolas Jones, managing the largest study ever conducted by the Census Bureau on "how to ask the race & ethnic question," will hold forth before, during, and after dinner. 

Sept 23:  Friday

Lunch (breaking  about 2:00) –– planning the 2nd conference, involving only a sub-set of the participants, who will constitute the writing group for the position paper and the planning committee going forward. 

Scientific organizers

On the French side, the project will be coordinated by Laetitia Atlani-Duault, Associate Director, Science Policy at the FMSH. Scientific oversight will be provided by Michel Wieviorka, Administrator of the FMSH and Professor at the EHESS, and Hervé Le Bras, Professor at the EHESS. On the American side, the project will be coordinated by Kenneth Prewitt, the Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs and the Vice-President for Global Centers, School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University.


French Participants

Michel Wieviorka is a Professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris. He currently chairs the Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme. He is former Director of the Centre d'Analyse et d'Intervention Sociologiques (CADIS, founded by Alain Touraine) and Editor with Georges Balandier of Les Cahiers Internationaux de Sociologie. He has published several books on social movements, racism, terrorism and violence, including in English The Arena of Racism (Sage, 1995), The Making of Terrorism (University of Chicago Press, new edition November 2002) and Violence: A new Approach (Sage, 2008). His more recent works include a large research project on violence and anti-semitism in France, The Lure of Anti-Semitism: Hatred of Jews in Present-Day France (Brill, 2007, first published in French under the title La tentation antisémite. Haine des Juifs dans la France d'aujourd'hui). Michel Wieviorka was President of the International Sociological Association from 2006 to 2010, and is deeply involved in international debates on multiculturalism and cultural differences.

Hervé Le Bras is a demographer and mathematician (Ecole Polytechnique, Paris), now Directeur d'études (full Professor in Demography) at École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS); former Director of the Laboratoire de démographie historique (EHESS/CNRS) 1987-2007; Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge; Research Director (emeritus) at the Institut National d’Études Démographiques (INED). He is also invited or associated Professor at the Universities of Geneva (Switzerland), Ann Arbor (Michigan), Charlottesville (Virginia), and Professor at ENA (Ecole Nationale d'Administration). He is chief editor of Population (1978-1990), member or former editor of Mathematical Population Studies, Demographic research, Histoire et Mesure, Books, etc. His recent books include: Statistiques ethniques : le vrai débat (Fondation Jean Jaurès, 2010), Le retour de la race (Ed. de l'Aube, 2009), The nature of Demography (Princeton University Press, 2008), Les quatre mystères de la population française (Odile Jacob, 2007), and Immigration positive (Odile Jacob, 2006).

France Guérin-Pace is a geographer and statistician, and is currently Research Director at France’s National Institute of Demography where she is responsible for the research unit “Population Identities and Territories” (UR12). She is also Deputy Director of the International College of Territorial Sciences in Paris (GIS). Her domains of research concern mainly urban questions, such as the spatial inscription of populations in connection with their migratory paths. She has been interested for a long time in the question of the categorization of the populations and their use. Her recent publications include :  Le retour de la race, (coll.), Ed. de l'Aube, 2009; “From measuring integration to fighting discrimination. The Illusion of “Ethnic Statistics”, French Politics, Culture & Society, pp. 45-62., 2008 (with A. Blum); En quête d’appartenances, Collection Grandes Enquêtes, Ined, 224 p. (with Samuel O., Ville I. ed.), 2009; Ces lieux qui nous habitent.  Identité des territoires, territoires des identités, Editions de l’aube, 276 p, (with E. Filippova ed.), 2008 ; “Lieux habités, lieux investis : le lien au territoire, une composante identitaire ?”, Economie et Statistique, n°393-394, pp.101-115 ; “Identity in Question : The Development of a Survey in France”, Population-E, 60(3), pp.231-258 (with I. Ville), 2005 ; “An Analysis of International Comparison of Adult Litteracy”, Assessment in Education, Vol. 8, n°2, pp.225-246 (with Blum A., Goldstein H.),  2001; “The comparative illusion: The International Adult Literacy Survey”, Population : An English selection, 12, 2000, pp.215-246 (with A. Blum).

Jean-Luc Bonniol is Professor of anthropology at Aix-Marseille University.  He is currently working at the Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme and is member of the Norbert Elias Center. He has published several books on race, “métissage” and creolization, from the French Caribbean perspective, including: Terre-de-Haut des Saintes. Contraintes insulaires et particularisme ethnique dans la Caraïbe (Editions Caribéennes, 1980), La couleur comme maléfice. Une illustration créole de la généalogie des « Blancs»  et des « Noirs » (Albin Michel, 1992), Paradoxes du métissage (Editions du CTHS, 2001). He has been a member since 1980 of the Comité International des Etudes Créoles (International Committee on Creole Studies). His more recent works include a field research study about the memory of slavery, and, more generally, about representations of the past: (dir., with Maryline Crivello) Façonner le passé. Représentations et cultures de l’histoire (XVIe-XXIe siècle) (Publications de l’Université de Provence, 2004). He is also involved in the national debate in France on multiculturalism and cultural differences, recently participating in CARSED (Commission on Ethnic Statistics and Discrimination), which resulted in the collection Le retour de la race (Editions de l'Aube, 2009).

Jean-Luc Racine is Senior CNRS Fellow, Centre for South Asian Studies at the School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences, Paris. He is also Director, Science Policy, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH), and Vice-President of a Paris based think tank, Asia Centre. From 1992 to 2001, he was the Director of the Indo-French programme at FMSH, before heading, from 2001 to 2010, the International Programme for Advanced Studies, run in cooperation with Columbia. His research is focussed on the dynamics of change in contemporary India, on India’s visions of the world order and on the geopolitics of South Asia. He is on the editorial board of a number of journals, including India Review and Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East. On issue of social dynamics in India connected to the workshop focus, he has published Viramma, Life of an Untouchable.  Verso, London, New York, 1997 (with Josiane Racine), and a number of papers or book chapters, including: “Viramma’s voice, or the Changing Face of Change”, India International Centre Quarterly (with Josiane Racine), New Delhi, n° 23, 1996,19-30; “Untouchability and Beyond: French Studies of Indian Dalits” (Introduction to four contributions),  Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Duke University Press, vol XVIII, n°1,1998, pp 1-4; “Dalit identities: The dialectics of oppression and emancipation in a changing India. the Tamil case and beyond” (with Josiane Racine), Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, Duke University Press, vol. XVIII.1, 1998, pp. 5-20; “Beyond Silence. A Dalit Life History in South India” (with Josiane Racine) in Stuart Blackburn & David Arnold, Telling Indian Lives: Biography, Autobiographies and Life-Histories in India, Indiana University Press, Bloomington & Permanent Black, 2004, pp. 252-280; “High and Low Castes in Karani,” in Ishita Banerjee-Dube (ed) Caste in History (Themes in Indian History series), Oxford University Press, 2007, pp.235-249; “Caste and Beyond in Tamil Politics, in C. Jaffrelot & Sanjay Kumar (eds) : Rise of the Plebeians ? The Changing Face of Indian Legislative Assemblies, Routledge India, 2009, pp. 439-489.

Laëtitia Atlani-Duault is an anthropologist and Research Director at the French National Development Research Institute (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement). She is also Associate Director for Science Policy at the Fondation de la Maison des sciences de l’homme, Adjunct Professor at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, and a member of the Research Unit for Ethnology and Comparative Sociology at France’s National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS). She is the author of Humanitarian Aid in Post-Soviet Countries: An Anthropological Perspective (Routledge, 2007), Au bonheur des autres: Anthropologie de l’aide humanitaire (Société d’Ethnologie, 2005 ; re-published by Armand Colin in 2009), and Anthropologie de l’aide humanitaire et du développement: Des savoirs aux pratiques, des pratiques aux savoirs (with L. Vidal, Armand Colin, 2009). She has also guest-edited special issues of the journals Ethnologie Française (2011), Tiers Monde (2008), Humanitaire (2007) and Autrepart (2005). The CNRS recently awarded her its Bronze Medal for her contributions to research in critical anthropology of humanitarian aid and development.

U. S. Participants

Ian F. Haney López is the John H. Boalt Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches in the areas of race and constitutional law. He is currently at work on two projects. The first traces the origins and contours of “reactionary colorblindness.” While ostensibly condemning all state uses of race, in the post-civil rights setting this version of colorblindness amounts almost exclusively to a proscription of state efforts to remedy, or even notice, racial inequality. The second explores post-civil rights uses of race to mobilize voters. Republicans and Democrats alike have competed for forty years through coded racial appeals that have distorted public policy, especially in the arenas of welfare, education, and crime control, and that continue today in the scapegoating of “illegal aliens.”

Jennifer Hochschild is Henry LaBarre Jayne Professor of Government and Professor of African and African American Studies at Harvard University. She also holds a lectureship in the Harvard Kennedy School. As these positions suggest, her interests lie in the intersection of American politics (and political thought), racial and ethnic dynamics, and public policy design and implementation. She has co-authored several articles on the United States census, and is at work on another addressing media presentations of interracial marriage in the century after the American Civil War.  Among her current research projects is a cross-national comparison of modes of immigrant political incorporation, including through censuses and other policy interventions.

David A. Hollinger is the Preston Hotchkis Professor of American History at University of California, Berkeley and is the author of Postethnic America: Beyond Multiculturalism (3rd edition, expanded, 2006) and other studies of the ethno-racial history of the United States. His work calls attention to the different destinies of diverse American demographic groups depending on their economic and cultural standing prior to immigration and in relation to the varieties of racial discrimination encountered in the US.

Nicholas A. Jones is Chief of the U.S. Census Bureau's Racial Statistics Branch. He has authored numerous reports on the multiple-race population, Black population, American Indian and Alaska Native population, Asian population, Pacific Islander population, and the population reporting "some other race." Jones conducted extensive research over the past decade on race reporting patterns and demographic characteristics of multiple-race children and interracial families and was honored by American Demographics magazine as one of the top young demographers to watch for his research on the multiracial population. He has presented his work at numerous academic conferences and professional meetings, and discussed race and ethnicity trends with a wide variety of media outlets.  Jones currently leads a research team that is analyzing 2010 Census data on race and ethnicity and preparing reports yielding insights to the country's racial and ethnic diversity.

Mae M. Ngai, Professor of History and Lung Family Professor of Asian American Studies at Columbia University, is a U.S. legal and political historian interested in questions of immigration, citizenship, and nationalism. She is author of Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America (Princeton 2004) and has written on immigration history and policy for the Washington Post, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Nation, and the Boston Review. She is interested in how racial categories are written into law and the inverse process by which law produces racial knowledge and hierarchy.

Matt Snipp, Stanford University, has examined the volatility in the reporting of race by persons of American Indian ancestry. Snipp is currently working with CPS and other Census data that were especially collected using several different variations of a question designed to elicit information about racial identification. He is particularly interested in how factors such as residence, education, and family composition are related to racial identification and especially to questions about multiracial backgrounds, and how this might change under different scenarios of immigration and intermarriage rates.

Katherine Wallman serves as Chief Statistician at the United States Office of Management and Budget. In this capacity, she is responsible for overseeing and coordinating Federal statistical policies, standards, and programs; developing and advancing long-term improvements in Federal statistical activities; and representing the Federal Government in international organizations such as the United Nations Statistical Commission and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development Statistics Committee. During her long tenure in this position, Ms. Wallman has placed particular emphasis on increasing collaboration among the agencies of the Federal statistical system, strengthening the protection of confidential statistical information, fostering improvements in the scope and quality of Federal statistics, and making the products of the system more readily accessible to the public.

Kenneth Prewitt teaches at Columbia Universty, directed the 2000 decennial cenus, and  has recently finished a book-length manuscript provisionally titled: America’s Statistical Races:  Do We Still Need Them?   "Statistcial races," he argues, are what matters in policy terms. The book concludes with a chapter on how the current ethnoracial questions used by the US government  should be changed in a manner relevant to an historic social justice agenda while providing better statistics responsive to current issues of immigrant assimilation.

Territoire et population

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