Conference Schedule and Program

*Note: This conference has already taken place.

Friday, April 17

The Latino Studies Conference began the evening of April 17 when participants worked together to answer a questionnaire and engage in a PowerPoint presentation by Sylvia López (Professor of Modern Languages and Literatures, Beloit College) on changing demographics in the United States as well as barriers to Latinos' access to higher education and Latinos' retention and persistence rates in colleges and universities.

After dinner participants and members of the Beloit College community viewed the film Voces chicaguences: Latinos in Chicago, a work in progress by Gizella Meneses (Assistant Professor of Spanish, Lake Forest College), in which she interviews 25 Latinos between the ages of 20 and 48 who grew up in the Chicago area but whose parents (im)migrated to the United States. Following the film participants gave feedback to Prof. Meneses and interacted with Beloit College Latina students who had agreed to respond to the film and share their personal views on self-identification, language use, and other issues pertinent to Latino/a identity.

Saturday, April 18

Titled Latino Studies: Challenges and Possibilities, the keynote address was delivered Saturday morning by Lourdes Torres (Ph.D., Vincent de Paul Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University). The author of Puerto Rican Discourse and co-editor of Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism as well as Tortilleras: Hispanic and Latina Lesbian Expression, Prof. Torres spoke about the growing number of Latino Studies programs in U.S. universities, their interdisciplinary nature and the emerging field of queer latinidades. Discussion ensued about how to develop a Latino Studies program and where to locate it within the curriculum.

By midmorning various participants took turns discussing course syllabi and reading lists as a way to educate each other on what Latino Studies courses are taught on ACM campuses and as a segue as to how we can improve those courses and/or develop new ones. These resources are currently available on Beloit College's Moodle site (contact for more information).

Marcela Ocho-Shivapour (Associate Professor of Classical and Modern Languages, Cornell College) gave a presentation on best practices in teaching Latino Studies. She focused on instructional approaches and strategies that one can use to expose students to a variety of disciplinary lenses that focus on the condition and experiences of Latinos in the United States. We learned about political cartoons, films, and other resources that enhance the teaching and learning of Latino Studies.

Before our wrap up session in which we summarized the events of the day and discussed possibilities for collaboration and gathering again in two years, Mario Montaño (Associate Professor of Anthropology, Colorado College) led a discussion on how best to prepare students for entering Latino communities to carry out either service-learning or community-service projects.