This month has been busy for the SALSA Collective as Co-Jefas Becky & Eilidh have been conferencing, sharing their work on Latinidad and meeting those with similar interests both in the U.S. and in the UK.
Stateside we started our tour at Temple University’s annual History Postgraduate Conference, the James A. Barnes Conference, in Philadelphia. There we presented our papers on the gendered politics in the creation of Chicano Park in San Diego (Eilidh’s paper) and the racial politics used to fuse the American identity to the English language in both the 19th and 21st century (Becky’s paper). To our surprise, our papers were not featured on the same panel, which for us, indicated that our projects, and specific papers, included themes that work well beyond the Latino diaspora.
Eilidh’s paper was featured in a panel called ‘Modern Political Activism’. Within this panel there were papers on the re-emergence of anarchism in the 21st century and Chinese American activisms in the Cold War period. Becky’s paper was featured in a panel entitled ‘America at the Turn of the Century’ which included papers on gender and space, word power and congressional and international politics.
This gave us, and our audiences, a chance to see the larger ideas entrenched within our research. It is not only that we focus on Latinos or Latinidad, we focus on the cultural, the social, the gendered, the political, the ideological and the historical; it was a good reminder for us that our topic is not contained within a vacuum. Rather, our projects are part of a larger attempt to understand America as it unfolds in the 21st century. The conference also presented a unique opportunity for us to present our ‘American Studies’ topic to a predominantly American audience and to understand more closely how Americans view both the historical and rising social influence of the Latino community across the United States. For this, we’d like to give a special thank you to the conference organizers, our panel chairs and Temple University for hosting a very conducive, constructive and enjoyable conference.