CLACS 50th Anniversary Workshop

Friday, December 4, 2015
Alumni House, Garden Room
3230 E Kenwood Blvd

The 50th Anniversary Workshop is designed to spur conversation on the future of Latin American and Caribbean Studies and engage UWM and Regional Faculty on ways that CLACS can continue to serve its mission to promote research, teaching, and public engagement on the Americas.

The roundtables topics for this workshop highlight some of the opportunities and challenges for the years to come. Some considerations are embedded within our institutional settings of U.S. higher education, as Latin Americanists consider how to articulate the need for regional expertise in an ever more global setting. Others will focus on how Latin American and Caribbean Studies can benefit from its engagement with traditional disciplines and newer areas (e.g. professional schools) to innovate theoretically and conceptually. Finally, we’ll discuss opportunities to engage in more meaningful north/south dialogue by spurring new conversations and reconceptualizing historic divides between scholars and research communities. Details on the roundtables, presenters, titles and biographies follow.


Time Activity
8:30 am Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30 am Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30 am Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:50 am Opening Remarks
9:00 am Roundtable 1: Latin American Studies in Higher Education
10:30 am Roundtable 2: New Approaches to Latin American Studies
12:00-1:00 pm Lunch and discussion
1:00-2:30 pm Roundtable 3: Breaking Barriers and Promoting North/South Dialogue
2:30-3:00 pm Discussion on the Future of Latin American Studies and how the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS) at UWM can engage and support teaching and research on the Americas into the future

Roundtable 1: Latin American Studies in Higher Education

Latin American Studies has a long history in U.S. higher education. Many faculty formed informal networks of Latin Americanists on their campuses before they formally established Centers and Programs of study. There are many models for developing Latin American Studies today, including interdisciplinary programs with an undergraduate major or minor, interdisciplinary graduate programs, and full departments of Latin American Studies with dedicated faculty. Some programs and centers are funded entirely by their colleges while other receive enhanced support through Title VI funding with National Resource Center designation. Different models pose unique challenges for faculty buy-in, academic coordination, and administrative management. Current trends for a global or international curriculum can raise questions on the role of regional expertise. Trends in U.S. higher education, including the reliance on tuition-revenue, can pose a challenge for sustaining collaborations and public engagement on the Americas. Presenters on this roundtable will explore these and other themes and draw on their varied experiences at public and private institutions in the State of Wisconsin.


Promoting Regional and International Engagement: Insights from Recent Institutional Changes at UW-Madison
Guido Podestá, Vice Provost and Dean of the International Division, UW-Madison

Are Latin American Studies Global?
Gustavo Fares, Professor, Spanish, Lawrence University

Transcending Origins: Lessons from Latin American Studies Programs at Two Very Different Public Comprehensive Universities
David Leaman, Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, UW-Eau Claire

Moderator: Natasha Borges Sugiyama, Associate Professor of Political Science and Interim Director of the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, UW-Milwaukee

Roundtable 2: New Approaches to Latin American Studies

One of the great strengths of Latin American Studies is its grounding in interdisciplinarity. Generations of scholars have incorporated interdisciplinary approaches – history, language, culture, politics, etc. – to inform their scholarship and teaching. What does interdisciplinarity mean today, in a context where there are greater demands for specialization? What are the ‘boundaries’ of Latin American Studies as a field as it deepens dialogue with new areas, such as the natural sciences and professional schools (e.g. education, social work, public health, and urban planning, etc.)? The presenters on this roundtable will draw on their scholarship and teaching to explore new approaches and push boundaries in defining the scope of Latin American Studies.


Intersectionality and Latin American Studies
Gladys Mitchell-Walthour, Visiting Assistant Professor, Africology, UW-Milwaukee

Challenges for Regional Planning in the 21st Century: the Case of Cantón Tena in the Ecuadorean Amazon
Marcelo Cruz, Associate Professor, Urban & Regional Studies, UW-Green Bay

Literature of Feminicide: Common Ground and Lacunae in Latin American Studies and Border Studies
Kristin Pitt, Associate Professor, Comparative Literature, UW-Milwaukee

Moderator: Jessica Rich, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Marquette University

Roundtable 3: Breaking Barriers and Promoting North/South Dialogue

In what ways may future research, teaching, and community engagement on Latin American Studies produce more meaningful dialogue between “the north” and “the south”? The field has changed considerably since its early years, when Centers were predominately based in the United States and founded during the Cold War Era. Today Latin Americanists are far more integrated within a global community that facilitates exchanges between Latin American and U.S.-based scholars. Appreciation for the overlapping interests of research communities in the U.S., Latin America, and the Caribbean has spurred more collaboration on shared concerns such as the environment, human rights, migration, and human development. The presenters on this roundtable will reflect on the opportunities and challenges for greater north/south dialogue, whether it is through new opportunities to engage with Cubans, develop research collaborations near and far, or reframe the divide between U.S.-Latino and Latin American Studies.


Immigration and First Generational College Students: Connecting Latin American Studies and Latino Studies
Víctor Macías-González, Professor, History, UW-La Crosse

The Ivory Tower’s Elevator: Collaborations Near and Far
Laura Matthew, Associate Professor, History, Marquette University

That Proverbial Bridge to Cuba: Where Might It Lead in the Era of Détente?

Vicky Unruh, Professor Emerita, Spanish & Portuguese, University of Kansas

Moderator: César Ferreira, Professor of Spanish, UW-Milwaukee