2017 RIM Research Forum

May 30 - June 1, 2017

Kogod Business School | American University
Washington, D.C., USA


The broad objective of the Inaugural RIM Forum was to lay the foundation for an ongoing global transdisciplinary research network which will advance our understanding of the role of race in the marketplace. The Forum aimed to enable scholars whose work encompasses race in the marketplace to meet like-minded scholars, to integrate existing research across domains and disciplines, and to explore potential synergies.

The call for applications (in pdf) is available here

A total of 46 scholars from around the world (see participants’ bios here) were accepted via a competitive application process for the Forum. The scholars that attended represent diverse epistemological and methodological positions, and investigate RIM issues across disciplinary fields and research domains (e.g. retailing, health, housing, finance, art, sport). Attendance was global in scale, with a wide range of universities such as the University of Sydney (Australia), Yale University, University of Dundee (Scotland), Université Paris-Diderot (France), Stanford University, Loyola University Chicago, University of Texas at Austin, University of South Carolina, and Villanova University. Evincing the Forum’s interdisciplinary focus, the attendees brought with them a diverse array of research specializations such as social cognition, economic sociology, consumer culture theory, critical visual studies, and public health. Participants included researchers across the continuum, from junior to established senior scholars.

Full Program  Available Here

Full Program Available Here


Over the course of three days, the scholars engaged in a dialogue surrounding RIM and built the infrastructure for the forthcoming research network.

The opening reception was followed by a film focused on targeted marketing of alcohol by the Hennessey brand and a discussion with Rodney Williams, at the time, the brand’s Executive Vice President. This initial discussion laid the groundwork for a critical example of a RIM issue to discuss throughout the Forum.

The following days, the entire agenda was dialogical, with presentations only on the key conceptual pillars of RIM to put everyone on equal conceptual footing.

The forum also featured a visit to the National Museum of African-American History and Culture, providing attendees the opportunity to experience the historical representation of race in markets.


I learned that I had more in common with scholars in completely different fields than I ever would have through. And I met some great people in my own discipline. This was a gathering that was long overdue.”

I didn't know I was looking for a transdisciplinary scholarly network about race in the marketplace. But it turns out I was. I'm very excited about the potential of the RIM Network and it's future.

It was a great journey during which I met nice and talented people willing to advance and work hard to help vulnerable consumers. Everything was well organized and we all were respected and appreciated. RIM is a must for all researchers working on consumer culture theory and consumer behavior”.

The inaugural RIM Forum was an incredible, interdisciplinary and international experience that brought together a great group of people with a diverse mix of perspectives, including in relation to industry experience. Amongst the many themes that ran throughout the RIM Forum was an emphasis on support, self-care and scholarly collaborations, which was encouraging to hear as a final stage doctoral candidate. The RIM Forum event in 2017 was a really dynamic space that helped to stimulate new and exciting ideas regarding impactful research at the intersection of issues concerning race and the marketplace.

The RIM Forum both inspired and challenged me. I took away a deeper appreciation for critical work - scholarship and practice - focused on race and marketplaces. I took away an appreciation for the process of building together. Because of the intentional flow of the conference, I made authentic connections for future collaborations.

The forum was excellent: Professionally run, well thought and creatively directed. I will definitely attend the next iteration.”

In the News

Race, Power, Privilege in the Marketplace Are Focus of Interdisciplinary Network’s Research

February 4, 2018 | by Tiffany Pennamon
In Diverse: Issues In Higher Education

A group of scholars have set out to change how marketing researchers understand how race, power and privilege affect marketplace policies and practices.

Through the creation of the Race in the Marketplace (RIM) Research Network, Drs. Sonya Grier, Kevin Thomas and Guillaume Johnson’s collaborative efforts seek to provide a transdisciplinary and international research space for scholars and scholar-activists studying the marketplace to link their work to a framework promoting “inclusive, fair and just marketplaces”.

“We hope that we can contribute to interventions that help to make the marketplace more equitable for everyone so that everyone has the same consumption opportunities,” said Grier, professor of marketing in the Kogod School of Business at American University. “There’s a lot to be learned from integrating perspectives from across disciplines and across groups.”… Read More

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The call for applications (in pdf) is available here