Critical Race Theory and Empirical Methods

Wisconsin Law Review Symposium and Institute for Legal Studies Research Workshop, October 9-10, 2015

This is a two-day Symposium & Workshop organized by Associate Dean Tonya Brito, University of Wisconsin Law School, Professor Osagie K. Obasogie, UC-Hastings College of Law, the Wisconsin Law Review, and the Institute for Legal Studies. The two-day collaboration, entitled “Critical Race Theory and Empirical Methods,” will focus on an emerging area of interdisciplinary legal scholarship that bridges the conceptual and methodological gaps between empirical and doctrinal scholarship on race. Participants will include scholars from law, the humanities and the social sciences who will be brought together to critically engage and articulate the previously unexplored confluences between empirical studies of race and identity and doctrinal/critical work looking at similar subject matters.

Panel papers submitted in connection with the Symposium will be published in the Wisconsin Law Review.

The Symposium, hosted by the Wisconsin Law Review, will take place on Friday, October 9th. It will be a public event and consist of three panel presentations and morning and afternoon keynote speakers. The panels will begin with a presentation from each panelist, followed by a moderated discussion among the panel members and audience. 

The Workshop, hosted by the Institute for Legal Studies, will take place on Saturday, October 10th. It will be an invitation-only event and consist of four work-in-progress sessions. Each session will include a presentation of a draft paper by the author, remarks by a discussant, and feedback on the draft provided by workshop participants.

For information on the Critical Race and Empirical Methods Workshop, click here.

Law Review Symposium Program

Event approved for 7 hours of CLE credit

Thursday, October 8, 2015

7:30pm                     Opening Banquet for invited guests only

Friday, October 9, 2015 (Room 2260, University of Wisconsin Law School)

8:30-9:00am              Continental Breakfast

9:00-9:15am              Welcome

Zachary Zellner and Jimmy Phavasiri, Symposium Editors, Wisconsin Law Review
Tonya Brito
, University of Wisconsin Law School
Dean Margaret Raymond, University of Wisconsin Law School

9:15-10:45am             Panel 1: Rethinking Public Health Law: Race, Science and Health Disparities

Moderator: Andrea Freeman, University of Hawaii Williams S. Richardson School of Law

"Public Health Critical Race Praxis: An Introduction, an Intervention and Three Points for Consideration"
Chandra Ford
, UCLA School of Public Health

"Just Medicine"
Dayna Matthew
, University of Colorado School of Medicine

"Learning from Legislation: Race, EMTALA, and the Affordable Care Act"
Shaun Ossei-Owusu
, University of Southern California

10:45-11:00am           Break

11:00-12:00pm            Introduction of Keynote Speaker
Tonya Brito, University of Wisconsin Law School

Keynote: "Empirical Methods and Critical Race Theory: A Discourse on Possibilities for a “Hybrid” Methodology"
Mario Barnes, University of California, Irvine School of Law

12:00-1:30pm             Lunch

Lunch provided for speakers and invited guests. All others must make their own lunch arrangements.

1:30-3:15pm               Panel 2: #BlackWisconsinLivesMatter: What Can eCRT Add to the Movement?

Moderator: Wendy Greene, Samford University Cumberland School of Law

"Race to Equity: A Project to Reduce Racial Disparities in Dane County"
Erica Nelson
, Project Director, Race to Equity Project, Madison

"Forward from Ferguson: Black Community Control over Police"
M. Adams
, Young, Gifted and Black Coalition, Madison; Freedom, Inc.

"Violent Microclimates of Racial Meaning: Measuring Historical Trivialization of Black Life and its Enduring Environmental Impacts"
Geoff Ward, University of California, Irvine School of Social Ecology

"Black Lives Matter and Respectability Politics: An Early Empirical Assessment of the Movement's Impact on the Reporting of Officer Involved Deaths"
Osagie Obasogie and Zachary Newman, University of California, Hastings College of Law

"'Unspeakable Things Unspoken': Researching Race and State-Sanctioned Education Inequity"
Adrienne Dixson, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, College of Education

3:15-3:30pm               Break

3:30-5:00pm               Panel 3: Roundtable on Diversifying the Relationship Between Critical Theory
                                        and Social Science Methods: Gender, Sexuality and Class

Moderator: Beth Mertz, University of Wisconsin Law School

"An Institutional Account of Law and Marginalization within the LGBT Movement"
Gwyn Leachman
, University of Wisconsin Law School

"How Feminism Shaped the Legal Response to AIDS"
Aziza Ahmed, Northeastern University School of Law

"Winning the Battle, Losing the War:  Misclassification Litigation in Worker Movements"
Veena Dubal, University of California, Hastings College of Law

Deadlines and Submission Instructions
Please submit the title of your paper, the abstract of your paper and a short bio by July 31, 2015
Your draft papers are due by September 14, 2015
Submit all materials via email to Michelle Preston ( on or before the deadline

Access to Papers
We have posted the papers here (password protected)

CLE credit
This event has been approved for 7 hours of CLE credit.


Registration is free. Prior registration is encouraged to facilitate planning although we welcome walk-ins too. Please use the link below to register by September 30, 2015:

We have reserved a block of hotel rooms at the DoubleTree Hotel and the Lowell Center. Both are within walking distance of the Law School and are about a 15 minute cab ride from the airport. We will send a rooming list to the hotel and inform you which hotel has been assigned to you closer to the event.

Campus Map
A campus map can be found here for your reference.

Questions about the Program:
Please contact Associate Dean Tonya Brito (Director of the Institute for Legal Studies and Program Chair)
Questions about logistics or information on this page: Please contact Sumudu Atapattu, Director of Research Centers or Michelle Preston, Event Coordinator
Questions about the Symposium Issue: Please contact Wisconsin Law Review Symposium Editors Jimmy Phavasiri or Zachary Zellner

University of Wisconsin Law School, Wisconsin Law Review, Institute for Legal Studies, The University Lectures Committee, Wisconsin Experience Grant, ASM

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