REP VIII in Kent, Ohio: experience a small-town, urban environment with access to much more

The eighth bi-annual Race, Ethnicity and Place Conference (REP VIII) will be held September 21-23, 2016, at the Kent State Hotel, locally hosted by Kent State University

REP VIII already has attracted more than 150 registrants at the time of this publication, representing a wide range of disciplines, and scholars from numerous states and nations who share an interest in racial and ethnic transformation of places worldwide and reflect a mix of applied and theoretical perspectives. Along with paper, poster, and panel presentations, the conference features a welcoming reception at the Kent State Hotel on Wednesday evening, two lunches and a gala dinner.

For geographers and those of similar interests, the city of Kent is almost as interesting and important as the scholarly content of the meetings, so the REP Planning Committee has organized a number of opportunities to explore local landscapes and experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of local culture, as well as historic and ethnic places.

Kent, Ohio, provides a unique setting for this conference. The city recently experienced a place-remaking due to a $100 million investment. Its new award-winning, mixed-use, downtown is connected to the KSU campus through walkways. Our host hotel, the Kent State Hotel, provides direct access to the walkways that provide a pleasant atmosphere for viewing the campus. Kent State University gained international attention through a nationwide student strike in 1970, when the Ohio National Guard shot several students during a peaceful demonstration following the invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War. A very informative museum provides a first-hand look at this experience and the national climate of the time. A geography major was one of four students that spoke with President Nixon afterwards.

Of course, today Kent State University is a thriving Division I research institution and there is much to see on the campus. All conference participants and their accompanying family members are invited to partake in a self-directed tour of the Kent State Campus. KSU will provide maps, directions, and other information for these personalized excursions at the conference hotel.

Kent is located in Northeastern Ohio, only 40 miles from Cleveland, one of the nations’s most ethnically diverse populations, and is even closer to Akron, the former “Rubber Capital of the U.S.” Kent also is near Ohio’s “Amish Country,” which is one of the world’s largest settlements of Amish who separated from the Mennonites and persevered in maintaining the cultural elements of a rural European culture. These and other landscape features provide field trip options available on the days of the conference.

The REP VIII Conference closes on a traditional festive note with a gala dinner that provides entertainment and promises to be a fun event without speakers. Attendees are encouraged to wear ethnic dress, which results in many photo opportunities.

REP VIII is sponsored by its partners, sponsors, and private donors. For a listing and information about serving as a sponsor, see the REP Conference website, (or search REP Conference 2016). Additional, regularly updated, information about the REP VIII is also posted on the Conference web site.