The future of affirmative action, especially in the area of American higher
education, has been called into question by the 1996 decision of the U.S. Court of
Appeals for the Fifth Circuit in Hopwood v. State of Texas, which has had the effect of
requiring race-blind admission to state universities in Texas, Louisiana and
Mississippi; and the passage of Proposition 209 California.
The seemingly endless American debate on
this issue has almost entirely ignored the fact that other
countries faced with comparable problems of remedying the effects
of past discrimination have developed programs and acquired
experience from which Americans, might learn. Further, the legal
debate has not been adequately informed by the social science
disciplines. This conference is intended to expand discussion at a
critical moment by introducing these missing perspectives.
Session topics will include
affirmative action policies and programs in India
and South Africa; approaches to designing,
implementing and measuring effects of affirmative
action programs; and how affirmative action differs
in contexts of higher education, employment, and
Professors Clark D. Cunningham (Washington University), Marc S. Galanter (University of Wisconsin)
and N.R. Madhava Menon (National Law School of India) are organizing the conference,
which is based on a book proposal they have
submitted to the Oxford University Press.