Imagining Latina/o Studies: Past, Present, and Future

An International Latina/o Studies Conference

July 17-19, 2014, Palmer House Hilton Hotel

Chicago, Illinois

Under multiple sponsorships from various universities and Latina/o Studies Programs, Chicago will host an international Latina/o studies conference on July 17-19, 2014. We invite individual papers or group proposals from the various disciplines that contribute to Latina/o studies as well as from individuals and groups engaged in artistic, political, and intellectual work outside the academy, including writers, artists, and community activists.


The Chicago conference will serve as an inaugural international Latina/o studies conference where we will launch the creation of a Latina/o studies association. During the May 2012 Latino Studies Section meeting at the Latin American Studies Association conference in San Francisco, scholars from a variety of disciplines decided to explore the feasibility of creating an international Latina/o studies association. Since then, many of these scholars have held informal meetings at other academic conferences in order to gauge interest in such an organization. To date, discussions have been held at the American Studies Association, the Puerto Rican Studies Association, the Modern Language Association, the Organization of American Historians, the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Conference, among many others.


With this conference we hope to spotlight the dynamic work being carried out in a range of disciplines with a particular focus on the interdisciplinary impulse that shapes and motivates work produced under the banner of Latina/o studies. We recognize the decades-long history and crucial work of national-origin studies, such as Chicana/o studies and Puerto Rican studies, from which many of us have emerged; and we further ask how might we conceptualize the field so that it reflects the complex histories, social formations, and cultural production of Latinas/os even while seeking to imagine a larger sense of belonging that might transcend nationalisms?

By using this question as a benchmark for critical discussion, the conference will serve as a venue to set new research agendas and ask new questions of Latina/o studies. We seek proposals that revisit the genesis of Chicana/o and Puerto Rican studies in the 1970s as well as papers that highlight the emergence of Cuban studies, Dominican studies, Central American studies and South American studies. We invite proposals that compare the history, social formations, and cultural production of Latinas/os. Just as important, we seek imaginative proposals that critically interrogate the possibilities and limits of the category of “Latinas/os” itself.


Chicago serves as a symbolic setting for our conference. Located between the historically Mexican Southwest and the Caribbean East Coast, Chicago has long embraced its diverse Latina/o communities, and is home to several universities with Latina/o studies programs. To that end, we call for scholars, artists, and activists from both within the United States and abroad to join us as we launch our inaugural conference and the founding of a Latina/o studies association, the first organization dedicated to the comparative and interdisciplinary study of Latinas/os.


Our goal is to carve out an international space for dialogue and fruitful debate, and invite submissions from all disciplines. We welcome diverse and interactive presentation formats. We envision roundtables that explore recent publications, key developments, or major debates in Latina/o studies; workshops on mentoring, professionalization, pedagogy, or publishing; multimedia presentations such as Pecha Kucha or poster presentations; and performances along with traditional papers. Group proposals with diverse representation--including institutional affiliation, rank, and geographic region--will be given preference. All sessions are 90 minutes long, and must allot at least twenty minutes for discussion. A national interdisciplinary program committee will evaluate all proposals.

To submit a proposal, please email the following information to

  • All proposals are due by 11:59pm PST on December 1, 2013.
  • Paper or Session Title.
  • Name, institutional affiliation, discipline, position or title, and contact information of presenter including email address and phone number (for sessions: list organizer first, then each presenter providing requested information for each participant).
  • Abstract of the rationale and content of the paper or session: up to 300 words for an individual submission; 600 words for a group proposal, giving specifics about what each member will contribute.
  • Brief (2-3 sentence) scholarly or professional biography of each presenter.
  • Describe the format of the session (for group proposals) and give indication of any audiovisual needs or special accommodations.

On-Site Conference Committee

Frederick Aldama, Ohio State University

Frances Aparicio, Northwestern University

Raúl Coronado, UC Berkeley (formerly of Univ. of Chicago) (Program Co-Chair)

Nilda Flores-González, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lorena García, University of Illinois at Chicago

Alejandro Lugo, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Lourdes Torres, DePaul University (Program Co-Chair)

For more information on the Latina/o studies association initiative and the many people involved in creating it, please visit our Facebook page.