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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 most 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
                                        Ramón Saldívar, 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:   Silvio Torres-Saillant, Syracuse University
                                        In conversation with
                                        Helena María Viramontes, Cornell University
                                        Ernesto Quiñonez, Cornell University