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Department Spotlight

AU Community Invited to Latinx Studies Events

Two-day symposium runs September 29-30, free and open to AU community

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Roundtable speakers: Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, Perla Guerrero, Ricardo Ortiz, Kristie Dorr, Laura Pulido, and David Vazquez

To celebrate the growth of Latinx Studies at AU and mark the university’s position as a leading institution in the field, the Latina/o/x Studies Program is hosting a two-day symposium beginning Thursday, September 29. The events will feature a talk by nationally recognized Latina scholar Dr. Laura Pulido and a roundtable discussion on new currents in the field of Latinx Studies.  

Pulido is a qualitative social scientist who works at the intersection of geography and critical ethnic studies, especially Chicanx Studies. She writes that her interest in these fields began as a young child fascinated by maps, landscapes, nature, and places. “At the same time, everyday life taught me that we live in a racial, class and gender hierarchy that shapes our lives. Through my research and teaching I explore how these processes shape places and how places inform racial and economic processes.” 

Pulido, who is visiting AU from the University of Oregon and focuses much of her work on how racial inequity is produced and denied, will speak about “Monumental Denial: White Innocence in US Cultural Memory.” The event takes place September 29, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Battelle-Tompkins Atrium. Students, faculty, staff, and the entire AU community are invited; the event is free, and no reservations are required.  

"Traditionally, Latinx Studies has focused on New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and rural areas of the Southwest, often neglecting the important Latinx communities in Washington, DC, and surrounding areas. We are proud to be a part of establishing a scholarly and educational tradition that considers the DMV as a major locus of Latinx Studies," says David J. Vázquez, associate professor of Literature and CRGC, and AU’s program director of Latinx Studies. Vázquez came to AU in 2020 from the University of Oregon to establish the new program.  

“We are also thrilled that the Latinx Studies Program is a part of the growing Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies Department (CRGC), and that the Latinx Studies minor is available to our students,” Vázquez says. “It is exciting for AU to host a distinguished group of scholars from across the DMV and the nation, including our own practitioners in the field. We hope that our faculty, students, and staff come out and enjoy this celebration!”  

The Future of Latinx Studies Roundtable 

On Friday, September 30, from noon to 2 p.m. in the Battelle Atrium, Vázquez will moderate the roundtable discussion about the future of the emerging field of Latinx Studies. Participants are Pulido, Ricardo Ortiz (professor of US Latinx Literatures and Cultures at Georgetown University, and director of Georgetown's Master's Program in Engaged and Public Humanities), Perla Guerrero (associate professor of American Studies and director of the US Latina/o Studies Program at the University of Maryland), Kirstie Dorr (AU associate professor of Critical Race, Gender, and Culture Studies), and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz (AU associate professor of sociology).  

“The roundtable will be a conversation among leading experts in the field about the history of the field and its potential future trajectories,” says Vázquez. “It places Latinx Studies faculty from AU into conversation with practitioners from the DMV and beyond. There will also be food, fellowship, conversation, and lots of fun. We invite everyone from our AU community to come out and enjoy this event!” 

CRGC: Diverse Voices, Histories, and Experiences 

Both events are sponsored by AU’s Department of Critical Race, Gender, and Cultural Studies. “We are thrilled to welcome nationally recognized scholars to campus in this celebration of our new Latina/o/x Studies program,” says Eileen Findlay, professor and department chair. “We expect it to be just the first of many exciting intellectual exchanges in the field hosted by the CRGC.”