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Class acts — Wayne State's Center for the Study of Citizenship is holding its fourth annual Conference in Citizenship Studies, themed "Race and Citizenship." If the papers presented live up to their titles, the conference will be a serious examination of the nation's past, present and future.

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, a leading scholar of race, ethnicity and stratification, delivers the conference's keynote address. Three panels feature explorations into the arts and visual culture. In a panel on representations of trauma, Wayne State art history professor Dora Apel presents "Lynching Photographs and the Politics of Shame," breaking down the meaning behind lynching photographs that were, at one time in our history, souvenirs for a smiling crowd.

Patricia Davis, from the University of California at San Diego, speaks on collective memory and performing black Southern identity. Considering literature and what she calls "the 'racing' of the National Archive," Laetitia Baltz, from the IEP/CEAN (Institute of Political Studies) in Bordeaux, France, presents "Rethinking African Americans' Citizenship: A New Way to Approach Their Identity."

Dara N. Byrne, assistant professor in Speech, Theatre & Media Studies at the City University of New York identifies such social networking sites as MySpace and Black Planet as "cultural artifacts," using them as vehicles for discussing diasporas and questioning whether they create vibrant communities or represent increased corporate control. Her pioneering approach will hopefully include some discussion of digital art and online visual culture. Thursday, March 1, through Sunday, March 4, at Wayne State University Law School's Partrich Auditorium, Detroit; 313-577-2593 or visit

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