Building Sustainable Worlds: Latinx Placemaking in the Midwest
Investigating How Latinx Communities in the Midwest Create Home and Engage the Issue of Sustainable Environments
How do Latinas/os in the Midwest define, create, and cultivate ecologically and socially sustainable environments and communities? How do considerations of race, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, socio-economic status, and disability intersect with those of environment, region, culture? How are Latinas/os, long recruited to the region for industrial and agricultural work, impacted by the physical and material climate and environments of the region? And how do Latinas/os reflect upon, react to, and transform these cultural, social, and physical environments to create sustainable communities? “Building Sustainable Worlds: Latinx Placemaking in the Midwest” brings together professors and graduate students from across the Midwest to explore these questions. This project examines the significance of Latinx efforts in building sustainable communities in both urban and small-town environments of the region as these appear in formal and everyday performance; literature; and community, cultural, and arts centers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Midwest is a twelve-state region; however, our understanding of the Latinx Midwest recognizes the long history of translocal, transregional, and transnational interconnections that bind many Latinx communities to other parts of the U.S., and to places and countries throughout the Americas. The collaborative project involving researchers from several universities -- see below -- began in February 2017 and ends in December 2019. The project has created an annotated bibliography of sources on Latinx in the Midwest, a syllabus project, an online publication in the Oxford Literature Encyclopedia, two open-access cable television programs, and will complete its work with the publication of an anthology of the research generated.
This project is funded by a major grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation/Humanities Without Walls consortium, housed at the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Ariana Ruiz, Assistant Professor, Spanish and Portuguese, University of Iowa. She is interested in Latina/o cultural studies, travel literature, critical race theory, cultural geography, and youth culture studies. Click here to access her webpage and contact information.
Claire Fox, Co-Principal Investigator; Professor of English/Spanish and Portuguese, University of Iowa. Her research is on Latinx visual cultures, cultural centers, and heritage sites in Iowa and surrounding states. She focuses on institutional histories of cultural centers and their partnerships with other organizations. Click here to access her webpage and contact information.
Delia Fernandez, Assistant Professor, History, Michigan State University and an alumni of OSU. Her research is on the collaborations between Mexican American and Puerto Rican communities in Michigan on creating community centers and community initiatives. Click here to access her webpage and contact information.
Emiliano Aguilar, Graduate Student, History, Northwestern University. He is interested in Latinx Indiana, primarily the “politics of protest” during the 1970s by groups such as the Youth Advisory Board and Concerned Latins Organization. His work seeks to present these civil rights groups in conflict not only with discrimination but also political corruption as they fought for representative inclusion into their cities. Click here to access his webpage and contact information.
Geraldo Cadava, Co-Principal Investigator; Associate Professor of History, Northwestern University. His research focuses on US and Latin American history, looking at Latinos in the United States and the US-Mexico border. Click here to access his webpage and contact information.
Karen Mary Davalos, Professor, Chicano and Latino Studies, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her research focuses on Twin Cities Latinx cultural centers, and ephemeral pop-up projects, installations, and exhibitions that artists are and have created in the Twin Cities. Click here to access her webpage and contact information.
Laura Fernandez, PhD Student, Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University. She is specializing in Latinx Literature and Culture and is interested in Latinx literature in the Midwest. Click here to access her webpage and contact information.
Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, Associate Professor, American Culture, Latina/o Studies, Romance Languages and Literatures, and Women’s Studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. His research will focus on Fausto Fernós, Puerto Rican drag, the Feast of Funpodcast in Chicago, and the web series Cooking with Drag Queens, highlighting the convergence between Latinx queer performance aesthetics and new media platforms. Click here to access his webpage and contact information.
Leila Vieira, PhD student, Spanish and Portuguese, The Ohio State University. She is interested in research on composition of Latinx communities in Midwest with particular focus on how or whether Brazilian and/or “other” Latinx groups, such as Peruvian-American, etc., become incorporated into Latinx ethnic/racial gatherings. Click here to access her webpage and contact information.
Marie Lerma, PhD student, Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, The Ohio State University. She is interested on Latinos in the Central Valley of California and Latino youth. Click here to access her webpage and contact information.
Ramón Rivera-Servera, Co-Principal Investigator; Associate Professor, Performance Studies, Northwestern University. His research will focus on contemporary performance projects across the Midwest focusing site-specificity to address issues of Latino labor and the environment. He will examine artists such as Joel Valentin-Martínez (Chicago), Anita González (Michigan), and Erica Mott (Chicago). Click here to access his webpage and contact information.
Sandra Ruiz, Assistant Professor of Latinx Studies and English, University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign. Her research on “Unearthing Central Time: The Midwestern Latinx Avant-Garde” will focus on the profound and evocative history with sound and performance art in Latinx Chicago, Detroit, and Iowa City, from improvisation jazz to punk and noise music, and endurance to earth-body art. Click here to access her webpage and contact information.
Sergio Gonzalez, Assistant Professor of History, Marquette University. His research is on religious spaces as sites of cultural production imagined through faith — including churches, missions, festivals, social justice events/actions — with a focus on transnational interaction in the specific case of the Sanctuary Movement in Wisconsin and the interethnic context of its activity. Click here to access his webpage and contact information.
Sophie Delacruz, Formerly of Grand Valley State University and currently a graduate student at OSU. She was primarily involved in this project in the summer of 2017, gathering observations and helping in the beginning stages of the interviews at Latinx ethnic festivals, through the Summer Research Opportunity Program (SROP) at The Ohio State University.
Theresa Delgadillo, Co-Principal Investigator; Professor of Comparative Studies, The Ohio State University. Research addresses environmental concerns in Latinx literature and co-authored work on Latinx ethnic festivals in Ohio with research team that includes Laura Fernandez, Marie Lerma, Leila Vieira, Sophie Delacruz, and Genevieve Arce. Click here to access her webpage and contact information.