The “Politics” of Representation, Assimilation and Latino/a Identity for LASA 2012 (San Francisco, CA)

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Rosa E. Soto William Paterson University
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This CFP is interested in papers that address the representation of Latinos in Cultural Studies (Film, Television, Advertising or Literature). Specifically, we are looking for papers that examine the tensions between ethnic otherness and cultural assimilation in the representations of Latino/as in mainstream American culture. For example, representations of Latinos promoting “family values” in U.S. Army advertisements and those of Sonia Sotomayor throwing out the first pitch at a Yankees game, each implicitly argue for a type of “public,” as Richard Rodriguez might argue, American identity, one which attempts to minimize the otherness of ethnic identity in the U.S.

This panel is interested in examining the ways in which Latino/as (or those promoting a Latino/a identity) consciously or subconsciously encourage, challenge or question values of assimilation through their (self-)representations as “American” figures. Papers might address one or more of the following questions: Does assimilation and/or mainstream acceptance necessitate the erasure of ethnic identity and/or culture? How does one represent their willingness to accept American values in the context of ethnic difference? How do Latino/as negotiate their American identities in the context of national and transnational ties? How do political values and ideologies shape representations of Latino/a identity and assimilation?

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