February 9, 2004
Conference focuses on hemispheric dialogues
By Jennifer McNulty
For seven years, a group of Latino and Latin American scholars and activists
have been meeting to discuss issues at the core of their work, including
migration, culture, feminism, and racialization.
|With participants from
Chile, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Argentina, the conference will bring
together people with diverse perspectives on the future of area
studies and ethnic studies, said conference co-organizer Juan Poblete,
an assistant professor of literature at UCSC.
Their efforts to build action research partnerships and
to develop new curricula that will shape future scholarship culminate
with a conference February 20-21 in Santa Cruz.
About 80 people are expected to attend the conference, entitled Reflections
on the Future: Hemispheric Dialogues on the Intersections of Latina/o-Chicana/o-Latin
American(s) Studies. It will be held at the UCSC Inn and Conference
With participants from Chile, Brazil, Puerto Rico, and Argentina, the
conference will bring together people with diverse perspectives on the
future of area studies and ethnic studies, said conference co-organizer
Juan Poblete, an assistant professor of literature at UCSC.
The end of the cold war and the advent of globalization have triggered
a reexamination of area studies, including Latin American studies, that
has also prompted a review of ethnic studies, said Poblete.
As globalization has quickened the pace of migration and trade, some
scholars have called for a hemispheric perspective on area
and ethnic studies rather than the national or narrowly regional scrutiny
that arose when area studies was focused on stopping communism, and
ethnic studies concentrated on minority assimilation or exclusion, explained
We at UCSC who are participating in the conference are not always
in agreement about what Latino and Latin American studies should look
like, but we do agree that a hemispheric examination of people, money,
and goods and how theyre engaged makes more sense for the current
situation, said Poblete.
We need to extend the scope of Latin American area studies and
try to rethink the original aims of area studies, and we need to rethink
ethnic studies--Chicano studies, Puerto Rican studies, Central American
studies, and Latino studies, said Poblete. People in both
area and ethnic studies, that is, Latino and Latin American studies,
are aware now of the need to understand changes related to globalization
and migration and the emergence of social, economic, and cultural flows
and circuits that go beyond the borders of the nation states. In Mexico,
remittances make up the second- or third-largest national industry,
just behind oil. How could you study Mexico without paying attention
to the people who have emigrated?
Also at the conference, a group of UCSC graduate students will present
their work on the development of new courses and syllabi for colleges
The conference wraps up a three-year project that was funded--and renewed
for a second three-year phase--by a $235,000 grant from the Ford Foundation.
UCSC faculty participants include Professor Sonia Alvarez of politics
and Professors Manuel Pastor, Patricia Zavella, and Jonathan Fox of
Latin American and Latino studies. Along with a number of UCSC and international
scholars, the following UCSC graduate students will also present during
the conference: Victoria Banales (literature), Pascha Bueno (politics),
Macarena Gomez (sociology), and Veronica Lopez (sociology).
Return to Front Page