Open Call: 1st Biennial U.S. Latina/o Literary Theory & Criticism Conference

 Haciendo Caminos: Mapping the Futures of U.S. Latina/o Literatures

John Jay College of Criminal Justice
City University of New York
March 7-9, 2013

Abstracts Due: November 12, 2012

This conference aims to draw a critical mass of U.S. Latina/o literary critics and theorists, both foundational thinkers and emerging voices, for the first time in the history of the field. In response to a literature extant in the United States for roughly 150 years, U.S. Latina/o literary scholarship has grown with exponential force over the last two decades. 

Thinking through an array of subjects from borders to exile, poetics to politics, bilingualism, race, and sexuality, U.S. Latina/o literary scholarship offers new dimensions to the study of “American” literature.  As the inaugural conference, this gathering marks a historic intervention calling attention to the robust contributions of U.S. Latina/o writers.   

For too long, academic conferences have relegated Latina/o literary scholars to isolated panels, in large part fueled by the erroneous perception that U.S. Latina/o literature lacks the depth and breadth of other established literatures.  Yet this flies in the face not only of a rich body of literature, but scholarly community laboring to shape the field and find greater institutional inclusion. 

Thus, this three-day conference offers an exclusive space for intellectual exploration and exchange on a literature that sits within literary studies like the proverbial elephant in the room, just too substantial to ignore. Consolidating the field, inciting generative conversations, creating innovative modes of reading and understanding, are some of the scholarly objectives of this conference.

Located in New York City, home to one of the largest and most diverse Latina/o populations in the country and birthplace to some of the important literary movements in Latina/o literature, this conference boldly calls for a fundamental reawakening of the field.  One that provides the space for critics of multiple U.S. Latina/o literatures to congregate and become (re)acquainted in order to expand our scholarship and build critical networks of support.   

In an era when Ethnic Studies is being attacked, we must brazenly champion, across our departments and institutions, a brilliant literature and scholarship that shine a path to a more complex and just humanity.

In addition to two days of panels by scholars from around the country, this conference will include the following special events:

Thursday, March 7th:  Opening address by Ramon Saldivar, Stanford University

Friday, March 8th:   Roundtable discussion with  Mary Pat Brady, Cornell University, José Esteban Muñoz, New York University, Frances Negrón-Muntaner, Columbia University

Saturday, March 9th:  Junot Díaz in conversation with Silvio Torres-Saillant, Syracuse University

Proposals for panels or individual papers are welcomed.  Undergraduate and graduate student submissions are encouraged.

Papers might include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Illegal Borders and Imaginative Boundaries
  • Citizenship, Strangers, Politics of Exile
  • Affective States
  • Latina/o Phenomenologies
  • Diaspora, Displacement, and Relocation
  • Spic-ing English: Aesthetics and Bilingualism
  • Afro-Latinidad and Reimagining Race
  • Class and the Violence of Everyday Life
  • Gender and Literature
  • Queer Futures
  • Dis-Abilities
  • Coloniality and Modernity
  • Transnationalism and Hemispheric Studies
  • Literature and Nation in the Age of Global Capital
  • Human Rights and Activism
  • Latina Feminism
  • New and Old Genres: Poetry, Drama, and the Graphic Novel
  • Latinidades

Abstracts Due 11/12/12

Conference Registration $65

Please send abstracts of 250 words and queries to Professors Richard Perez and Belinda Linn Rincon at

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