Sunday, January 06, 2013

U.S. Latinas & Latinos in Boston: A Pictorial Celebration

by Amelia María de la Luz Montes (

The Modern Language Association (MLA) met this week in Boston.  Thousands of professors from all over the United States gathered to share, discuss, and make connections via their scholarly or creative work.  U.S. Latinas y Latinos also gathered to reunite for solidarity, to form our once-a-year community, to be there for our graduate students who may be interviewing and/or preparing papers.  In every school throughout the United States, the percentage of minorities is small.  
Colleges and universities remain predominantly white while the percentage of Latinas and Latinos graduating from U.S. high school continues to increase at a fast rate.  According to the book I reviewed last month, Presumed Incompetent:  The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia, “[f]rom 1997 to 2009 . . . the percentage of students of color enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities climbed from 25 to 30 percent” (Ryu 2010) and yet we still do not have commensurate numbers among U.S. Chicanas/Chicanos and Latinas/Latinos who are professors. 

What is most encouraging, however, is to see the many minority academics participating now at the MLA.   Last week I mentioned that Jennifer Lozano, a graduate student at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign would be speaking about “La Bloga” in a scholarly paper focusing on blog sites.  Jennifer discussed how La Bloga is a site that brings to our attention political issues, literature, music, art, and cultura which may not make news at all but will be given           ample attention here for a (primarily) Latina/Latino community of readers.  Thank you Jennifer for thinking about and articulating the important work we do here at La Bloga.  And thank you to the Chicana and Chicano Division to organize a panel on media and to include Jennifer’s paper. 

As well, the Division on Women’s Studies in Language and Literature featured a panel entitled “Life Writing and Invention in Latina Memoir and Fiction.”  I was honored to read my creative non-fiction work from “The Diabetes Chronicles,” and to hear award-winning writers and professors, Norma Cantu, Joy Castro, and Lorraine Lopez.  See photos below of these events (and books!).

At the MLA Book Fair, I was happy to see that Oxford University Press has now taken “The Society for the Study of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States” (MELUS) under its British wing, coming out with its first journal this month in 2013.  

I spoke to the acquisitions editor there, and he did say that Oxford is happy to support the MELUS journal and is also interested in publishing U.S.  Latina/Latino  scholarship (take note!).  And if you haven’t read the MELUS journal, here is your opportunity (click here).   The move to Oxford comes as no surprise as many international schools and publishing venues are quite interested in Chicana/Chicano and Latina/Latino literature (I'm thinking specifically here of Spain and Germany).  

Also at the MLA Book Fair:  Artstor.  Artstor is a website that provides instructiors/professors/students (undergraduates and graduates) with access to digital copies of artworks so that they may use them for lectures, presentations, and scholarly writing.  
While I was at the booth, I was curious how it worked, so I asked the kind Artstor expert to see what they had on the Chicana artist, Clara Lomas Garza.  And yes, they indeed have a number of her prints.  It seems to be a very exciting site:  (click here to check it out!)
Jennifer Lozano (graduate student from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), reading from her scholarly paper which focuses on "La Bloga." Felicidades to Lozano for passing her comps.  She is now ABD!
Next year, the MLA will be in Chicago:  a Midwest site of Latinidad.  It promises to be another excellent gathering. For now, we are on the last day of the 2013 convention.  If you are in Boston, don’t forget to visit the Book Fair today (Sunday) to receive free books (or almost free) at various booths on the last day of the convention.

Abrazos to you all!

Professors and writers, Amelia M.L. Montes, Julie Minich, Joy Castro, and Alex Espinoza

Dinner at Tamazcal Restaurant in Boston

Joy Castro reading from Island of Bones. See next picture of her book which is now being adopted into curriculums across the country.

Professors Amelia M.L. Montes, Norma Cantú, Joy Castro, and Lorraine Lopez at our panel.  
Below is Canícula, Professor Norma Cantú's award winning book:

Professors Amelia M.L. Montes and Richard T. Rodriguez who is the author
of Next of Kin:  The Family in Chicano/a  Cultural Politic

One of Professor López's award winning books: homicide survivor's picnic and other stories

The Boston MLA crowd!


msedano said...

Congratulations, indeed to Jennifer Lozano, ABD.

Great news about MELUS, whose 5:2 issue in 1978 was among the earliest journals to publish an article on chicano lit, ray paredes' 'evolution' piece. (I was cleaning out an old bookshelf and i blew the cobwebs off my copy).

Next year, in Chicago...

Daniel Olivas said...

Oh, this post makes me smile! Mil gracias for sharing this and many congratulations to all of the amazing Latino/a scholars who went to the conference.