About Race + IP

Race + IP is a conference dedicated to cultivating community and collaboration around the study of race, coloniality, and intellectual properties. The inaugural conference was held in 2017 at Boston College, with subsequent conferences being held at NYU Law School in 2019 and Florida A&M University College of Law in 2021. This year, the University of Pittsburgh School of the Law, where Derrick Bell attended law school, will be hosting the event. The conference is intended to create a productive intellectual space for considering how frameworks such as Critical Race Studies (CRS), Third World Approaches to International Law (TWAIL), Ethnic Studies, Black Studies, Asian American Studies, and more can help to illuminate the inequities that arise in copyright, patent, trademark, right of publicity, trade secret, and unfair competition law. While we do not believe that a single model of race can apply transnationally, we believe that it is useful to cast a wide net around that term as an analytic to understand how color, ethnicity, nation, religion, and other markers of identity can result in material exclusion. In undertaking this racial inquiry project, we are interested in building a healthy and vibrant community, with shared goals, visions, and intimacies. This aim of community building is to offer a supportive and enthusiastic space for those who are beginning to do this work and those who have been doing it for many years. Too often people of color labor alone on equity issues such as these, which can be lonely and disheartening. Building solidarity and kinship, which we hope to cultivate here, is an important part of both intellectual and movement work.

For more about Critical Race IP (“CRTIP”) as a project, we offer this paper by Anjali Vats and Deidre Keller: as well as a forthcoming public syllabus that showcases the breadth and depth of the work being done by scholars across disciplines in these areas.

If you would like to suggest additional sources for that syllabus, please contact us at raceipconference@gmail.com. We hope you will join us in the future.

This page is maintained by Anjali Vats, Associate Professor of Law, with a secondary appointment in Communication, at the University of Pittsburgh. She is currently in the process of collaboratively building a public curriculum on race and intellectual property with support from a Soros Equality Fellowship.

Thank you to the many collaborators, comrades, partners, and intimates who have co-created this project over the years. It would not have been possible without your energy, support, and enthusiasm.