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Graduate Symposium Call for Papers (Apply by Feb. 5. 2021)

February 5, 2021

Abstract Submission Deadline: Feb. 5, 2021


The UNC Latina/o Studies Program 3rd Graduate Symposium

Tues. April 6 & Thurs. April 8, 2021, 4 – 6 PM

UNC Chapel Hill, NC


“LatinX Studies Approaches to Flourishing Cultures in a Pandemic”


As socio-economic institutions and norms continue to unravel while many among us collectively work to preserve human life during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must develop new, resourceful ways for engaging with one another. The “LatinX Studies Approaches to Flourishing Cultures in a Pandemic” graduate symposium asks: What does or can LatinX Studies bring to the task of (re)building communities during COVID-19? The project of rebuilding communities will require creative ways of interacting as well as the design and maintenance of physical spaces in acknowledgment of the unique needs of our time. Architect and urban designer Tobias Armborst states in response to the question of how the Coronavirus will reshape architecture, “When you have a momentary lapsing of the status quo, it allows everyone to see that something’s possible” (“COVID Reshape Architecture”). This graduate symposium attempts to grapple with the impacts of the pandemic on society and LatinX experiences in particular and, from the perspectives offered (or yet to be offered) by LatinX Studies, seeks to investigate productive responses to the pandemic’s effects on social practices and norms. Among questions to consider are:


How has COVID-19 altered LatinX communities, and how have LatinX populations responded to such changes? 


How do LatinX practices, tactics, and rhetoric in relation to the pandemic help us to navigate our new forms of socially distanced, Zoomed out, and survivalist being? 


How can LatinX views and values help us navigate our existence in a pandemic? What can we create and nurture together? What sorts of spaces safely allow us to flourish?


What do pre-COVID-19 LatinX narratives of illness and representations of pandemics offer to current conversations about COVID-19? Alternatively, how do COVID-19 stories alter pre-COVID-19 illness narratives? You may consider the interplay of various mediums in telling these stories and the inclusion of experimental genres and/or forms when answering these questions. 


What might LatinX communities, identities, and art look like post-COVID-19? 


What kinds of futures are LatinX cultural producers envisioning? What will future designed environments look like?  


How does or can LatinX Studies inform our management of space?


Other possible questions to consider may relate to the particular conditions impacting LatinX populations. For instance:


How are LatinX organizations and businesses being impacted by COVID-19? 


What challenges have LatinX students experienced during transitions to online? 


How has the pandemic impacted LatinX enrollment into college? What are LatinX illness narratives surrounding COVID-19? 


This symposium also wishes to consider how pedagogies inspired by LatinX Studies and other decolonial educational practices can nurture more effective learning environments. We recognize that instructors are transmitters of culture, but as Paulo Freire has cogently argued, students are not merely receptacles of knowledge but rather possible and essential co-creators of it. Students enter spaces with cultural knowledge that can inform the subject matter investigated in classes and, by virtue of their specific insights and needs, have the power to reshape scholarly material and teaching practices. How can instructors foment and help students use cultural resources they already have to help further develop critical pedagogies, scholarship, and creative work? The works of Paulo Freire, Antonia Darder, bell hooks, Amarilys Estrella, Chela Sandoval, Carlos G. Vélez-Ibánez and J. B. Greenberg, Luis C. Moll, Norma E. González, Cathy Amanti, Marta Civil, and others could be useful resources for instructors considering this question.


In a similar vein, what tools does LatinX Studies offer instructors to motivate learning and build rapport with students in a virtual learning setting during a pandemic? How do LatinX Studies pedagogies help instructors organize knowledge, employ virtual learning tools, and manage classroom spaces in social distance learning?


While we invite scholarly and theoretical approaches to answering these questions, we also call for remotely shareable artistic works (written, visual, or performative) that can engage with these and/or other related questions and concerns. 


Keywords: LatinX Studies, Public Health, Global Health, Healthcare Epidemiology, Infectious Disease, Health Humanities, Disability Studies, Illness Narratives, Urban Studies, Urban Planning, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Public Space Design, Infrastructure, Matter & Materials, Open Air Museums & Schools (etc.), Community Gardens & Permaculture, New Experiential Environments, Sustainable Environments, Safe(r) Accessibility, Ecological Economics, Ecopoetics, Ecofictions, Ecorealities, Queer Feminist Ecologies, LatinXfuturisms, Activism and Social Organizing, Labor Studies, Critical Pedagogy, Aesthetics, Avante-Garde, Performance Studies, Film, and more. 

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words and a short bio to and by Friday February 5, 2021 for consideration. Include “Spring2021 GradLSP symposium abstract” in the subject line.


February 5, 2021

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