In Search of a Collective Voice: The Latina/o Academy
Working Schedule for 2008 Spring Conference
This invited workshop will bring together leading scholars who will lay the foundation for a collective institution that gives voice to the Latina/o community in public life. Currently, debates are raging on issues like immigration, affirmative action, income inequality, and linguistic and cultural pluralism. The resolution of these controversies will have a direct impact on the growing Latina/o population in the United States. Although a cadre of Latina/o scholars is doing important work in these areas at major colleges and universities, this academic research is largely missing from the public discourse. To fill this gap, a collective effort is needed to support this research, make it accessible to the general public, and establish its relevance in making policy decisions. Tentatively titled the Latina/o Academy of Arts and Sciences, this initiative would bring together Latina/o scholars in the search for social and epistemic justice. The Academy, and the conference in particular, will seek to formulate ways to critique exclusionary discourses as well as define ways to bridge the gap between the university and marginalized communities. The conference will gather experts on existing efforts to connect research with communities, and scholarly work with social change.
THURSDAY, MAY 1
6:30 – 9:00 p.m. Welcome Reception & Dinner: Beginning the Conversation
During the dinner, conference organizers will offer a general overview of the tentative title and mission statement of the initiative, so that participants can begin informal discussions of the key issues that will be addressed during the coming two days.
FRIDAY, MAY 2
9:00 – 10:30 a.m. Panel 1: A Latina/o Academy? Why Now?
This panel will address some of the fundamental issues affecting Latina/o communities today. The focus will be on: immigration, education and affirmative action, and culture and representation. The proposed speakers for these areas are:
10:30 – 10:45 a.m. Coffee break
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Panel 2: Scholarly Responses to Problems Faced by Latina/o
This panel will explore the individual responses of scholars who have sought to transform discourse around issues affecting Latina/os in ways that promote solutions to the problems faced by Latina/o communities.
12:15 – 1:30 p.m. Box Lunch featuring Keynote Speaker
1:30 – 1:45 p.m. Break
1:45 – 3:15 p.m. Panel 3: Institutional Creations and Collective Responses
This panel will explore the ways in which academics have worked collectively and within an institutional framework to transform discourse over Latina/o issues in ways that promote solutions to the probems facing Latina/o communities.
3:15 – 3:30 p.m. Coffee Break
3:30 – 5:00 p.m. Break-out Groups
There will be five to seven break-out groups. Each group will have a facilitator. The main questions that will be discussed by the groups are:
1. What other efforts besides the ones discussed in the morning and early afternoon should be brought up in the context of discussing the initiative for a Latina/o Academy of Arts and Sciences?
2. What other sorts of problems and creative interventions besides an Academy do we need to consider?
3. In what way can a national organization that brings together Latina/o scholars contribute to the efforts to find solutions to the problems that have been identified? What are the actions that such an institution can take?
4. What forms of funding are possible for such an endeavor?
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Reception and artistic presentation that reflects cultural production in
the Latina/o community
SATURDAY, MAY 3
9:00 – 11:00 a.m. Panel 1: Student Presentations and Feedback
This panel will explore the ways in which students have worked to reconstruct academic discourse, advance community awareness, and mobilize and empower people of color around issues affecting our communities. Three to five of the following organizations will be selected:
1. Berkeley MEChA
This is a Chicano/a group dedicated to the advancement and betterment of the Chicano community and its people.
2. Xinaxtli Berkeley
This organization’s goal is to create community awareness as well as to mobilize youth and all people of color on issues affecting our communities.
3. Central American United Student Association—Cal State Northridge
This is one of the more established Central American student organizations and has advocated for the development of the first Central American Studies minor and now the first major in the country.
4. Boalt Hall School of Law: La Raza Law Students Association
This organization seeks to empower Latina/o students. By studying law with local knowledge, students learn how to shape doctrine and policy in ways that enhance diverse communities’ cultural, economic, political, social, and spiritual vitality.
5. The Society for the Advancement of Chicano/as and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS)
This organization has worked on improving and expanding the opportunities for minorities in the study and practice of science for over thirty years. They also mentor students in science, mathematics, and engineering.
6. Simon Fraser Public Interest Group: Action Research Exchange Program, Simon Fraser University
This group links students with community organizations on collaborative research projects and focuses on training students in how to link the academy and social justice initiatives.
11:00 – 11:15 a.m. Coffee Break
11:15 a.m. – 1:15 p.m. Break-Out Groups
There will be five to seven groups. Each group will have a facilitator. Groups will meet to share ideas and discuss next steps in the development of specific elements of the Latina/o Academy. These include the mission statement, name, organizational infrastructure, leadership, short-term initiatives, long- term goals, and funding.
1:15 – 2:30 p.m. Box Lunch & Feedback from Organizations and Community Activists
This roundtable discussion will feature community activists and members of leading community organizations who will offer feedback on the conference presentations made over the past two days and the proposal to develop a Latina/o Academy of Arts and Sciences.
1. Centro Legal de la Raza, Oakland: This organization has been a leading source of legal and other services to the day laborer community.
2. Community for a Better Environment (CBE): This organization has played a significant role in addressing issues of environmental racism.
3. Monica Lozano, Publisher and CEO, La Opinión: This is one of the oldest and most influential Spanish-language publications in the United States.
2:30 – 5:00 p.m. Plenary Meeting
The break-out group facilitators will report to the participants on the results of the break-out sessions and key decisions will be made about the name of the initiative, mission statement, overall goals, immediate actions, long-term goals, and leadership.