Performing Latina/o/x Futurity (Sawyer Seminar Closing Conference)

Thursday, April 30, 2020 (All day) to Saturday, May 2, 2020 (All day)
Event Location: 
Iowa City Public Library
123 S Linn Street
Iowa City, IA 52240

In this closing conference for the Mellon Foundation-funded Sawyer Seminar, six invited scholars of Latina/o/x studies help wrap-up the yearlong conversation about “Imagining Latinidades.” We make the turn to practices of performing and imaging Latinidades now and into the future by inviting leading scholars in the fields of Performance Studies, Queer Studies, Cultural Studies, and Latina/o/x Studies to participate in a closing conference. One set of speakers will discuss Latina/o/x cultural production that complicates and rejects homogenizing tendencies of Latino identity formation for alternative and/or queer community formations.

Leticia Alvarado is Assistant Professor of Ethnic Studies and American Studies in the Department of American Studies at Brown University whose research shows how Latino artists use abject aesthetic strategies to provide alternative political models.

Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes is an Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Michigan whose research interests are queer/LGBT Hispanic Caribbean studies, and U.S. Latina/o and Latin American literary, cultural, and performance studies. His current book project focuses on migration, transvestism, and performance, considering drag in relation to and beyond gender and sexuality.

Ramón Rivera-Servera is Chair of the Department of Performance Studies and Associate Professor of the Department of Theatre at Northwestern University. Rivera-Servera’s research examines the ways categories of race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality are negotiated across national borders through migratory circuits of circulation and exchange in 20th- and 21st-century performance in North America and the Caribbean.

Cathryn Josefina Merla-Watson is Assistant Professor in the Literatures and Cultural Studies Department and affiliate faculty in Women and Gender Studies and the Mexican American Studies Program at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Merla-Watson is the co-editor of Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture and is currently completing a manuscript examining how queer Latinx performances employ the gothic genre and post-apocalyptic subgenres.

Catherine Sue Ramírez is Associate Professor of Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz. She is a scholar of migration and citizenship, Mexican- American history, Latinx literary and cultural studies, feminist and gender studies, and speculative fiction.

Richard T. Rodríguez is Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies and English at the University of California, Riverside. He specializes in Latina/o literary and cultural studies, film, visual culture, and queer studies.

Similar to the opening conference, the closing conference will be built around the invited scholars’ lectures and interspersed with round table discussions featuring the invited guests in conversation with Iowa faculty. Events on Friday 5/1 and Saturday 5/2 will be at the Iowa City Public Library. The opening keynote will be on Thursday 4/30, location TBA. See our Sawyer Seminar website at for more information (including a more precise schedule) and to sign-up for our newsletter.