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Latinx Life Writing: Past, Present, and Future

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Organizer: Christine Fernandez

Co-Organizer: María Villaseñor

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This seminar will bring together scholars engaging thematic and generic issues in Latinx Life Writing. Texts from life writing genres including memoir, autobiography, autoethnography, oral history, visual autobiography, and mixed genre texts that blend aspects of these to create and challenge modes for expressing the complexity of lived experience have proliferated both in terms of publication and as subjects of study in the recent past. These genres have been particularly transformative for Latinx literature with a large number of signature Latinx literary texts embodying and defying their generic conventions.  Various thematic issues addressing questions of identity have been explored in Latinx life writing such as: immigration, citizenship, and transnationalism; gender, sexuality and queer identities; (dis)ability studies; indigenous identities and movements; environmental issues and dynamics of land and territories; multilinguisitc modes; and racial and multiracial identities.   In light of these thematic explorations, participants will work to map continuities and discontinuities as we examine the past and the present and anticipate the future. What characterized the emergence of Latinx life writing and where do participants see Latinx life writing now? Where will it go in the future as Latinx communities continue to evolve and expand? We seek proposals from participants writing about a variety of time periods, writers, and issues that help reexamine Latinx life writing and raise new questions regarding generic form and content. As a genre that historically encompasses the consequences of political change and upheaval, such events that facilitate new modes and perspectives in Latinx life writing have been crucial to negotiating memory and positionality in generic codes of Latinx literature.  Narratives reflecting thematic concerns of intersectionality and those that continue to decentralize or challenge historical processes as they negotiate their identities within collective experiences as Latinx Life Writing are particularly welcome.

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