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The LSA conference is an exciting event, held every two years during the summer at different geographic locations across the United States. The conference draws together over 500 academics, students, artists, writers, filmmakers and community activists whose work is dedicated to supporting, understanding, and engaging issues relevant to Latino/a/x people in the United States. The conference provides a generative and creative space for fostering community and broadcasting the lively and critical work that defines the field of Latina/o/x studies.

Each conference is slightly different depending on contemporary challenges facing Latina/o/x communities, the scholarship surrounding those issues, and the location of the conference. Plenary sessions are integral aspects of the conferences as well as presentations. Presentation formats include regular panel presentations, roundtable discussions, workshops, poster sessions and other creative venues depending on the interests and needs of the membership. Professional development workshops and panels on recent books in Latina/o/x studies are likewise integral to conference proceedings. In 2018, a subcommittee of the Program Committee formed the LSA Plaza as a dynamic space to get together with long-time friends and colleagues – and find new ones – over coffee and conversation. The community building inherent in the LSA Plaza includes a chance to browse and buy books, meet acquisition editors from different presses, watch films and meet filmmakers, listen to live music, attend poetry and book readings, experience local Latinx art, and interact with a variety of community groups. The Poetry en la Plaza events, which highlighted a series of poets reading from their work over several days, proved to be very popular and may become a permanent – and prominent – feature of the LSA Plaza.

Participants at past conferences have noted their unique character, particularly the sense of support and comradery among participants. Bringing together a diverse group of people in the community allows members to have conversations across disciplinary and institutional borders. The conference affords those interested and engaged in Latina/o/x Studies the opportunity to share work, exchange views, and share in meaningful conversations with scholars, teachers, students, writers, artists, and community activists in the field.

The Conference Site Committee

Chair

Marisel Moreno, Ph.D.

Rev. John A. O’Brien Associate Professor

Romance Languages and Literatures

University of Notre Dame

343 O’Shaughnessy Hall

Faculty Fellow, Institute for Latino Studies

Faculty Fellow, Kellogg Institute for International Studies

Faculty Fellow, Center for Social Concerns

Faculty Fellow, Initiative on Race and Resilience

Affiliated Faculty, Gender Studies and Africana Studies

 

CoChair

Paloma Garcia-Lopez

Associate Director, Institute for Latino Studies

President, Adelante ND: Latinx Staff & Faculty Association

Diversity Catalyst, College of Arts & Letters

University of Notre Dame

315 Bond Hall

Notre Dame, IN 46556

 

Honorary Chair & Host of LSA 2022 Conference

Luis Ricardo Fraga

Rev. Donald P. McNeill, C.S.C., Professor of Transformative Latino Leadership

Joseph and Elizabeth Robbie Professor of Political Science

Director, Institute for Latino Studies http://latinostudies.nd.edu/

Fellow, Institute for Educational Initiatives

Institute for Latino Studies

316 Bond Hall

Department of Political Science

2074 Jenkins Nanovic Halls

University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame, IN 46556

 


 

Member

Francisco E. Robles

Assistant Professor

Department of English

 

Member

Tatiana Reinoza, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Art History

Department of Art, Art History, and Design

Affiliated Faculty, Institute for Latino Studies

University of Notre Dame

Office: Decio 410

 

Member

Oliver Lopera Ortega

PhD Candidate

Department of English

Communications Assistant Institute for Latino Studies

318 Bond Hall

Notre Dame, IN 46556

 

Member

Xavier Navarro Aquino, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing

Department of English

University of Notre Dame

233 Decio Hall

Notre Dame, IN 46556

Imagining Latina/o Studies: Past, Present, and Future was held in Chicago, IL, from July 17-19, 2014. [2014 PROGRAM]

Deliberating Latina/o Studies: Promiscuity, (In)Civility & (Un)Disciplinarity was held in Pasadena, CA, from July 7-9, 2016. [2016 PROGRAM]

Latinx Studies Now was held in Washington, DC from July 11-15, 2018. [2018 PROGRAM]

Calls for racial justice, accountability, resistance, and representation, which have a long history in this hemisphere, have strongly reverberated across Afro-Latina/o/x communities, prompting us to confront the colonial legacy of enslavement and anti-Black racism prevalent in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the U.S. The racial justice protests that erupted across the United States after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 re-energized the Black Lives Matter and similar movements worldwide, including in Latin America, in the fight against global anti-Blackness. The present moment links us to a long critical history of decolonial struggles, including the Black Latin American struggle, which dates back centuries. Systemic anti-Blackness can take many forms, from the disproportional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Latina/o/x and Black communities to police brutality; from environmental racism to the crisis of climate refugees; from discrimination to colorism; and from invisibility to colonialism, among others. As our title for the LSA 2022 Conference indicates, we believe it is imperative that we center Blackness within Latina/o/x Studies in order to confront the erasure of Afro-descendants from latinidad, something that Afro-Latinxs have demanded for a long time, both from our field of study and from the community at large. We seek to better understand and address systemic forms of racism against Black Latina/o/x communities and how these correlate and intersect with the escalation of anti-Asian violence, the continuing legacy of violence against Indigenous peoples, and global endemic violence against girls and women. Inspired by this moment of racial justice reckoning and the United Nations’ International Decade for People of African Descent (2015-2024), we aim to create a space where afrolatinidad is centered and celebrated, and where we can have an urgent and honest dialogue about how anti-Blackness impacts the Latina/o/x community.

 

Blackness inevitably challenges the white-centeredness that undergirds historic conceptions of latinidad. The phrase “Challenging latinidad,” not only points to this, but also hints at a decolonial approach by inviting us to consider how marginalized identities destabilize this concept. With this purpose in mind, we also encourage participants to submit proposals for individual papers and panels centering the experiences of Indigenous, LGBTQ+, undocumented peoples, and other groups often excluded from hegemonic conceptions of latinidad (Haitians, Garifunas, etc.), and to consider how these groups’ experiences intersect with anti-Black forms of violence. By holding the 2022 Conference in South Bend, Indiana—a city in the rural Midwest with an established Latina/o/x community—we also encourage participants to engage with scholars, community organizers, and activists beyond the traditional geocultural areas (West Coast, Southwest, East Coast, Florida) more often engaged in our field. The Conference aims to offer a space for interdisciplinary deliberation on building stronger solidarity networks among scholars, activists, community organizations, artists, and other actors. By centering Blackness and other marginalized identities and positionalities, we hope that the 2022 LSA Conference helps us advance toward a more inclusive field of Latina/o/x Studies.

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