Extremist Latinos/as (MLA Vancouver, January 8-11)

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Modern Languages Association Annual Conference
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In liberal democracies, it is commonly assumed that because extreme, radical, and marginal politics fall outside of the confines and vocabulary of the political center they, therefore, demonstrate a deficient capacity for rational deliberation. Although this distinction becomes murkier in the spheres of minority politics, the Latina/o political center might be thought of as a demand for cultural affirmation, in response to periods of psychological degradation and institutionalized discrimination. Within Latina/o criticism, some theorists go so far as to represent "Latinidad" as an exemplary political "center" for its perpetual mediation between ethnicities, cultures, geopolitical orders, and forms of life. Formulations of Latino/a cultural politics such as these elide the variability and diversity of Latina/o cultural politics. Within these confines, immoderate articulations of Latina/o politics become illegible if not irrational. In contrast to the culturalist center, this panel endeavors to explore the extremes of Latina/o cultural politics. For this special session for the 2015 Modern Language Association Conference, we invite scholars to explore how Latino/a cultural forms point away from the culturalist center to drastic, fanatical, and radical extremes. Some broad topics of interest include:

• Latino/a participation in traditions of radical critique
• The extremes of politics left (e.g. communism, anarchism) or right (e.g. fascism or ethnocentrism)
• The vagaries and significances of cultural nationalism
• Fanaticism inspired by embedded interests as citizens
• Drastic solutions inspired by the experience of undocumented status
• Radically idiosyncratic interpretations of traditional texts, music, visual art etc.
• Extremism and Latina/o relationship with/to institutions

Please e-mail 250 word abstracts to Eric Vázquez at evazquez@andrew.cmu.edu, due date March 10, 2014. (This MLA Special Session has been submitted but has not yet been accepted into the conference).