Panel Session: Early Latinx Literature and the Archive (2024 PAMLA Conference)

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Vincent Perez, University of Nevada Las Vegas
contact email: 

Panel Session:  Early Latinx Literature and the Archive

How does one read early Latinx literature? How does one read early Latinx writings that were unpublished or unrecovered for decades and in some cases more than a century? How does one read early Latinx literature that was written in Spanish but is now available only in translated English editions? How does one read these works knowing that they are the product of a long, circuitous history that impeded their vision and content, or denied their very existence? How does one do so when early Latinx authors often used their works to embody history at large, when life-writing and fiction are entangled with historical, social, and political events? This session explores these questions in relation to the “archive.” Early Latinx literature speaks to the ways in which recent scholarship across several disciplines, including U.S. Ethnic and Latinx Studies, have theorized the archive. Rather than thinking of the archive as an objective repository of truth, this scholarship conceives it as a site of power--social, political, cultural--and therefore a space marked by seismic discontinuities and contradictions. This scholarship highlights the subjective nature of the archive, the fact that the very act of archiving suggests a selection process that implies exclusion and censorship and thus a shaping of history according to prevailing social, political, and ideological power structures. Presence and absence, record and loss, preservation and exclusion, liberation and oppression, these are some of the dichotomies that define the archive. How do early Latinx writings illustrate these questions and dichotomies? How do these recovered works resist the power of the archive and serve as literary and philosophical antecedents of current Latinx writing, scholarship, and theory?

Submit on the PAMLA website at <>. PAMLA Conference (Pacific and Ancient Modern Language Association, the Western regional MLA association.)  The conference is peer-reviewed, and takes place in Palm Springs California, November 7-10, 2024.