2012 Lozano Long Conference Focuses on U.S. Central American Populations
Posted: February 9, 2012
The Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and the Center for Mexican American Studies are cosponsoring the 2012 Lozano Long Conference, “Central Americans and the Latino/a Landscape: New Configurations of Latina/o America,” to take place February 22–25 at the University of Texas at Austin.
This conference will initiate a dialogue about the locations and experiences framing the practices of the wide spectrum of Latino/a communities. Focusing on U.S. Central American populations, whose role has been critical in the reconfiguration of Latino/a studies in the first decade of the twenty-first century, this scholarly conversation and cultural interchange is of paramount importance, considering the continuous growth, visibility, and significance of Central Americans in the U.S. and Latino/a landscape.
As conference co-organizer Arturo Arias points out, “We want to emphasize and detail the ways that these latinos nuevos are marcando presencia within the United States at the end of this first decade of the twenty-first century, complicating the concept of Latinidad.”
The goal of this conference is to explore the ways both Latina/o Studies and Latin American Studies must change fundamental assumptions about each field’s object of study to understand more accurately and fully the transformations taking place across the Americas. For instance, Salvadorans are today the sixth largest immigrant group in the United States and the fourthlargest Latina/o group in the country. Furthermore, the experiences of indigenous Guatemalan Mayas in new destination areas and regions such as Iowa or the U.S. South point to the need for new modes of analysis.
The 2012 Lozano Long Conference will include panel presentations organized around such themes as “Local Communities, Economic Pressures” and “New Challenges of Immigration.” Scholars will present their research over three days of panels. Norma Torres, Assembly Member in the California State Legislature, will present one of the keynote addresses. The conference also will feature speakers including Héctor Tobar, author and journalist for the Los Angeles Times, and Domingo Hernández Ixcoy, Maya activist director of Asociación Maya Uk’ux’b’e, among many others. Rapper, producer, and entrepreneur Chingo Bling will perform and speak as one of the keynote speakers.
Actor, activist, and philanthropist Eva Longoria will give the closing keynote address on Saturday, February 25. Longoria will address some of the principal challenges in the changing Latino landscape.
The organizational architecture of this conference closely reflects its topic. Just as the changing character of the U.S.-based Latino/a population obliges us to rethink the very category “Latino/a” and its relationship to Latin America, so too must our fields of study change. According to Charles Hale, Director of LLILAS, “The historic collaboration between CMAS and LLILAS in the conception and execution of this conference will become a milestone in our ongoing efforts to work together in our rapidly expanding areas of shared concern, while at the same time strengthening each unit’s distinct mission and mandate.”