"Building Sustainable Worlds: Latinx Placemaking in the Midwest"
This project is supported by the Humanities Without Walls consortium, based at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The Humanities Without Walls consortium is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and includes fifteen universities in the Midwest and beyond.
Project Leader/Senior Principal Investigator: Theresa Delgadillo, The Ohio State University.
Co-PIs: Geraldo L. Cadava, Northwestern University; Claire F. Fox, University of Iowa; Sonia BasSheva Mañjon, The Ohio State University; Ramón H. Rivera-Servera, Northwestern University.
Participants: KarenMary Davalos, University of Minnesota; Delia Fernandez, Michigan State University; Lawrence M. LaFountain-Stokes, University of Michigan; Sergio M. Gonzalez, UW-Madison; Elena R. Gutiérrez, University of Illinois, Chicago; Sandra Ruiz, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; Ariana A. Ruiz, University of Iowa.
Graduate Students: Tatiana Faria, The Ohio State University; Laura M. Fernandez, The Ohio State University; Leila Vieira de Jesus Gemelli, The Ohio State University.
This research project will bring together scholars from across the Midwest to explore the significance of regional Latinx efforts at placemaking in three cultural arenas: formal and everyday performance; literature and film; and community cultural and arts centers and sites. Our own Midwest-based teaching and research suggests that cultivating a sense of multiple belongings has been crucial for Latinas/os as they build communities that are culturally, economically, and environmentally sustainable. Scholars have noted that Latinas/os became scapegoats and threats in public discourse in new ways over the past sixteen years, and because current anti-Latinx discourse has reached new extremes in recent months, we believe it is crucial to understand how Latinas/os have negotiated intolerance, discrimination, and violence to create physical and cultural homes in the Midwest. The pillars of this project are material, textual, visual, and expressive culture as they relate to placemaking and the creation of sustainable Latinx communities in the Midwest. One the one hand, we want to bring existing practices and projects to the attention of students, scholars, and communities through our research, publication, and events. On the other, we also want to participate in fostering greater awareness and interactions among cultural producers and institutions in our region. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Midwest is a twelve-state region; however, our understanding of the Latinx Midwest recognizes the long history of transregional and transnational identifications that bind many Latinx communities to other parts of the U.S., and to places and countries throughout the Americas. We will investigate cultural forms of expression and organizing that we have witnessed in both rural and urban locations and among diverse Latinx communities that include individuals from multiple national backgrounds and diverse racial, sexual, and gender subjectivities. We will also attend to the ways that Latinas/os interact with African Americans, Native Americans, and immigrants from Europe, Asia, and Africa in the region, because we expect that Latinx Midwest experiences do not merely involve adaptation or assimilation, but also creative transculturation. This research will be conducted from June 2017 through December 2018, with publication in 2019 anticipated.