Race in the Marketplace (RIM) Forum

May 30 - June 1, 2017 | Washington, D.C.

Building a transdisciplinary network of innovative scholars to advance our understanding of race (and its intersecting socio-political constructs - e.g. class, gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality) in the marketplace.

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The inaugural Race in the Marketplace (RIM) Forum is an international gathering of diverse scholars who examine the role of race in the marketplace. We define the marketplace as actual or metaphorical spaces where exchanges between producers and consumers occur. The RIM Forum welcomes the expertise and commitment of scholars from diverse epistemological and methodological positions who investigate RIM issues across disciplinary fields and scholarly domains (e.g. retailing, health, housing, finance, art, sport). The broad objective of the Forum is to lay the foundation for an ongoing global transdisciplinary research network which will advance our understanding of the role of race (and its intersecting socio-political constructs – e.g. class, gender, ethnicity, religion, and sexuality) in the marketplace. The RIM Forum will be held May30-June1 in Washington D.C, prior to the 2017 Marketing and Public Policy Conference.

Why Race in the Marketplace? 

From the shooting of John Crawford III in a US Wal-Mart store for holding a pellet gun to the removal of black students from an Australian Apple store over fears they “might steal something” to France’s recurring debates over “Islamic consumption practices,” both research and practice reveal that race plays a significant role in social well-being. In addition, specific identities outside of race, including particular ethnic and social groups (e.g. Hispanic/Latinx, immigrants) and religious groups (e.g. Muslim) are often “racialized” with similar effect.

As a social construct, race is a key site of hierarchy upon which marketplaces rest. A broad cross-section of scholarship has noted the essential role of race and racism in the conception and maturation of prominent present-day global markets. The banking, textiles and soft commodities markets are deeply rooted in racially-charged colonial and imperialist practices. Racial dynamics remain central to contemporary marketplace operations across the globe, such as target marketing, advertising, (reverse) redlining, service delivery and consumer profiling.

As race-related marketplace challenges repeatedly surface worldwide, focused attention is required to critically address how existing racial hierarchies hinder inclusive and equitable marketplaces. However, discussions of race in the marketplace are often subsumed into broader domains of class, ethnicity and/or multiculturalism, limiting our knowledge of how markets normalize, reify, and (re)produce systemic and institutionalized racism. Interestingly, many of the more complex investigations of RIM topics have occurred outside of marketing and create an opening for productive interdisciplinary collaboration.

The RIM forum will engage scholars to develop the intellectual, strategic and structural foundations of a transdisciplinary research network. The guiding aim is to highlight the reality of power, privilege and oppression, question existing marketplace practices and link these understandings to an overall framework that supports the development of equitable marketplaces. Participants will engage in structured dialogical activities around a variety of thematic areas, including:

  • The construction of race in the marketplace
  • Intersectionality and the marketplace
  • Innovative methodologies for understanding race in the marketplace
  • Strategies for publishing hi-impact scholarship to transform the marketplace

Overall, the RIM forum will enable scholars whose work encompasses race in the marketplace to achieve the following:

  • Meet like-minded scholars and integrate existing research across domains and disciplines
  • Explore potential synergies and develop cooperative strategies for designing research projects that can inform and guide practical marketplace innovations and interventions

Call for Applications | Due: January 7, 2017 (new deadline)


Individuals wishing to participate must submit a written statement of interest

This statement should include

  • name, e-mail, field/department, and institutional/organizational affiliation information, and
  • response to the questions below regarding what the applicant believes they have to offer this area of research and the subsequent research network

Statements of interest should answer the following questions (two-page maximum):

  1. How does your research (in general and specifically [i.e. examples]) contribute to the goals and objectives of the forum? 
  2. What do you hope to gain from attending this forum?
  3. How do you expect to contribute to forum objectives?

All applications should also include a CV and a statement of commitment. The statement should indicate the applicant's intention to attend the Forum if accepted, and to also complete the necessary “homework” beforehand

The forum also seeks to support graduate students that are passionate about pursuing research related to race and the marketplace. Limited doctoral student funding (provided by the MSI and ACR) will be available. Interested doctoral students should also provide:

  • a brief (100 words) explanation regarding why they think they qualify for the funding, and
  • a letter from their supervisor/advisor confirming support for participation in the forum.

And in the spirit of collaboration, applicants should also feel free to share any ideas regarding the Forum that we haven’t mentioned.

All applications should be electronically submitted to submissions@rimnetwork.net by the due date.

DEADLINE: January 7, 2017