Está en la página 1de 24

See

discussions, stats, and author profiles for this publication at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229961269

Re-Visioning Latin American Studies

Article in Cultural Anthropology April 2011


DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1360.2011.01097.x

CITATIONS READS

3 63

3 authors, including:

Arturo Arias Charles R. Hale


University of California, Merced University of Texas at Austin
53 PUBLICATIONS 121 CITATIONS 35 PUBLICATIONS 1,478 CITATIONS

SEE PROFILE SEE PROFILE

Some of the authors of this publication are also working on these related projects:

Recovering Lost Footprints: The Emergence of Contemporary Indigenous Narratives in Abya Yala Volume
I View project

All content following this page was uploaded by Charles R. Hale on 25 November 2014.

The user has requested enhancement of the downloaded file.


cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

CUAN cuan_1097 Dispatch: March 9, 2011 CE: N/A


1 Journal MSP No. No. of pages: 22 PE: Sarah

2
3
4
5

CA
6
7
8
9
RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES
10
11
12 SONIA E. ALVAREZ
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
13
14 ARTURO ARIAS
15 University of Texas, Austin
16 CHARLES R. HALE
17 University of Texas, Austin
18
19
In the early 1990s, an influential group of northern scholars, foundation
20
representatives and observers of academic trends came to the conclusion that
21
area studies were in crisis.1 Although the critiques and calls for reformulation
22
applied across the board, to a heterogeneous array of area studies fields, they had
23
particular resonance within Latin American studies (LAS). Rooted in disciplinary
24
and institutional developments dating back to the beginning of the 20th century,
25
LAS came into its own in the 1950s, in the context of the Cold War. It rapidly
26
became the largest, most well funded and most prestigious of the area studies fields.
27
For this reason, among others, LAS assumed a central role in the broader debate:
28
should area studies persist in their current form? If not, what successor intellectual
29
and institutional configurations should emerge in their place? Nearly 20 years later,
30
this high-stakes debate has virtually disappeared. By various important measures,
31
LAS is thriving. This article provides what we argue is the principal explanation for
32
this remarkable ongoing vitality of our field.
33
The critiques of area studies that emerged in the 1990s were both timely and
34
salutary. Although we do not endorse them all, we contend that the general call
35
for critical scrutiny helped to push LAS scholars to more clearly define the future
36
37
CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY, Vol. 26, Issue 2, pp. 225246. ISSN 0886-7356, online ISSN 1548-1360.  C 2011 by
38 the American Anthropological Association. All rights reserved. DOI: 10.1111/j.1548-1360.2011.01097.x
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 direction and key contributions of the field. Scholars with methodological commit-
3 ments to rational choice analysis and large-n comparison complained that LAS was
4 largely descriptive and atheoretical (see, e.g., Bates 1997a, 1997b). Although we
5 have little patience for the notion of theory underlying this critiqueespecially
6 its inherent need to reduce complex social and historical formations to universally
7 standardized variableswe do agree that some currents within LAS had turned
8 parochial, and that the field needed to open itself more fully to theoretical debates
9 and challenges emanating from other realms. In particular, we contend that LAS
10 has benefited enormously from deepened engagement with feminist theory, crit-
11 ical theories of race and ethnicity, various currents of inter- and postdisciplinary
12 intellectual work associated with cultural studies, and with general epistemological
13 scrutiny, starting with the very idea of Latin America. This last challenge, in turn,
14 converged with an explicitly political critique, which emphasized the Cold War
15 origins and imperial affinities of the field, and argued for an end to the
16 study of geographically delimited and colonially derived areas (Dirlik 1994;
17 Gibson-Graham 2004; Palat 2000; Rafael 1994). All these critiques were influen-
18 tial, in short, because they focused attention on existing methodological problems,
19 often embodying constructive proposals for much-needed change.
20 What the general proclamations of crisis did not take into account, however,
21 was the extent to which creative solutions to these underlying problems were
22 being generated from within the field of LAS itself, albeit often from the margins.
23 Even as it was institutionalized in U.S. universities and research centers during
24 the postwar decades, LAS was always a space of ferment and contestation. Most
25 notably, among LAS scholars there has always been strong, and in some moments
26 even majoritarian, dissent from prevailing U.S. government policies toward the
27 region, especially in relation to Cuba (in the 1960s and 1970s) and Central America
28 (in the 1980s). The same goes for theoretical innovation from within. Efforts were
29 underway within the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) to engage feminist
30 theories and gender politics at least since the mid-1970s, for example, with the
31 creation of the Task Force for Women in Latin American Studies, the forerunner
32 of todays Gender and Feminist Studies Section. Similarly, by the mid-1990s,
33 when the crisis was no more than a few years old, efforts were undertaken to
34 bring cultural studies and related interdisciplinary perspectives more centrally into
35 the flow of intellectual exchange, and to confront the conceptual and political
36 problems associated with the sharp division between Latino/a studies and LAS.
37 As an example, when Jean Franco became the first humanities professor to serve
38 as LASA president in 1989, she directed a concerted effort to attract humanists
226
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 to LASA because their participation was insignificant.2 In 1990, 95 percent of


3 the membership all came from the social sciences. After a decade of initiatives
4 by Franco and others, humanists made up 40 percent of the membership. Similar
5 efforts followed during the 1990s to make spaces for groups that had traditionally
6 been excluded from LASA: thus, the first queer studies panel took place at the
7 XVIII Congress in 1994 in Atlanta; the first plenary session on U.S. Latino studies
8 was held in 2001 at the XXIII Congress in Washington, D.C.
9 The gradually increasing numbers of Latin Americabased intellectuals within
10 LASA, and of Latin American diasporic intellectuals who joined LAS faculties
11 in the North, also contributed centrally to these internal processes of renovation.
12 Amid much heterogeneity, one central intellectual influence of both groups was to
13 challenge the U.S.-centric character of LAS knowledge production, replacing the
14 dominant pattern of center-periphery diffusion with images of circulation among
15 multiple sites, organized horizontally, breaking sharply with the premise that all
16 starts with, and ends up in, the North. This decentering was, of course, a broader
17 process, not in any sense specific to LAS. An influential parallel initiative within
18 anthropology is the World Anthropology Network (WAN), a loose association
19 of scholars who have sought to challenge dominant patterns of anthropological
20 knowledge formation with emphasis on the politics of location and circulation.
21 WANs efforts at theoretical decentering run parallel to the argument developed
22 here, and directly inspire this argument, especially given that so many of WANs
23 principal members study Latin America.3 They also exemplify the argument here
24 because many of the most influential of these interventions come from WAN
25 anthropologists who form part of this diaspora: originally, from Latin America, but
26 trained in the North, and working from within northern institutions.
27 Finally, it is crucial to remember that the crisis, however real and weighty
28 it might have been in the North, was virtually irrelevant to Latin Americabased
29 intellectuals, because LAS itself was still a predominantly northern scholarly field.
30 As the principle of horizontal dialogue among differently positioned intellectuals
31 gradually began to displace the hierarchical model of northern scholars studying
32 the South, this gnawing inequity, another important factor in the crisis, could be
33 more clearly identified and addressed. In this regard, it is crucial to clarify that
34 this article must be focused on re-visioning the field of LAS, with no pretense
35 of mentioning all the separate, possibly parallel initiatives that are situated in the
36 South, with complete autonomy from northern academia. An excellent example is
37 the Latin American Network of Legal Anthropology (Red Latinoamericana de
38 Antropologa Juridica [RELAJU]), which meets every two years in a different Latin
227
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 American city, with a rotating directorate and extremely low administrative costs.
3 RELAJU, like many other such initiatives, embodies many of the transformative
4 ideas laid out here, yet without the need to directly contest a previously dominant
5 institutional and intellectual framework.4
6 Important contestations of LAS always have been simultaneously substan-
7 tive, political, and epistemological, although the particular emphases on these
8 three facets shifted according to context. Challenges to U.S. policies toward Latin
9 America through the 1980s, for example, had a sharp political edge, but otherwise
10 remained largely within established disciplinary boundaries, and often implicitly
11 endorsed the nation-state centered premises of LAS as a field. Subsequent critical
12 interventions departed sharply from these premises, working to frame research
13 topics and analysis from the perspectives of peripheral and marginalized collective
14 actors. In some cases this brought largely new substantive areas into LAS (e.g.,
15 queer studies); in others, it produced a radical shift in conceptual lens (e.g., im-
16 buing the study of indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples with a central focus
17 on political agency and collective self-representation). The political and episte-
18 mological challenges to the field deepened as growing numbers of intellectuals
19 from these marginalized groups acquired academic training and engaged in LAS
20 dialogues, which contributed to a blurring of the traditionally constituted line
21 between political assertion and knowledge production. These challenges focused
22 critical attention on the epistemological underpinnings of LAS in at least three di-
23 mensions: the nation-state centered premises (which fixed the boundaries of Latin
24 America and delimited priority topics within each national space), the North
25 South hierarchy, and the subjectobject dichotomy (which posited that objects of
26 study did not produce knowledge in their own right). By the beginning of the
27 new century, LAS was bristling with multiple lines of innovation, debate, and
28 contestation that these challenges had brought to the fore.
29 This article is an attempt to document the vibrant expansion and transforma-
30 tion of LAS since the 1990s. As part of our responsibilities as elected officials of
31 LASA, each of the three coauthors served as editors of the Forum, the Associations
32 quarterly journalin 200203 (Arias), 200406 (Alvarez and Arias) and 200607
33 (Hale and Arias). In these three periods we made concerted efforts to commission
34 articles that would showcase the topics, problems and debates that were bubbling
35 up from within the LASA membership at large, and of its various issue-oriented
36 constituent organizations. Only later did we realize that through these quarterly
37 efforts to take the pulse of the Association and the field, the contours of an ex-
38 citing new vision of LAS had emerged. These articles highlight five key realms of
228
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 challenge and reformulation, which we argue are crucial to this new vision of LAS:
3 (1) power-sensitive dialogue among differently positioned intellectuals; (2) efforts
4 to highlight subaltern knowledges and perspectives; (3) engaging Latin America in
5 the North; (4) inter- and postdisciplinary inquiry, including transdisciplinary fields
6 such as feminist, queer, and postcolonial studies; and, finally, (5) research methods
7 that draw on collaborative relations between academic- and civil societybased
8 intellectuals.
9 In the section that immediately follows, we offer a detailed reflection on why
10 LAS needed to be decentered, noting the unhelpful baggage that the field had
11 taken on since its inception and the likely fate of LAS if the status quo had prevailed.
12 Next, we explain what is meant by decentering LAS, filling out an explanation
13 of the five components of our vision. Finally, we briefly consider the concerns,
14 problems and contradictions associated with this vision, and reflect on possible
15 trajectories into the future.
16
17 WHY DECENTER LAS?
18 Although area studies originated in the years following World War II, LAS have
19 their origin in U.S. expansion into the Caribbean basin in the wake of the Cuban
20 SpanishAmerican war. Tulanes Roger Thayer Stone Center for Latin American
21 Studies, the oldest in the country, is emblematic of this history. The center was
22 founded in l924, when Tulane benefactor Samuel Zemurray, the founder and
23 president of the Cuyamel Fruit Company, forerunner of the United Fruit Company
24 of infamous trajectory throughout the Caribbean basin, made a large gift of a library,
25 archaeological artifacts, and an endowment to establish the Department of Middle
26 American Research.5 As part of the same midcentury history of imperial relations
27 between the United States and Latin America, the University of Florida Center for
28 Latin American Studies was founded in 1931, and the Institute of Latin American
29 Studies at the University of Texas at Austin, the countrys largest, in 1940.
30 Area studies became the vogue in U.S. academia in the 1950s and 1960s during
31 the Cold War. Framed by the developmentalist premises from which the notions
32 of underdevelopment and Third World emerged, the term area studies itself is
33 nothing but a general description of many heterogeneous fields of research with
34 a geographic positioning (Latin America, Middle East, Asia, Africa, etc.), often
35 involving the disciplines of history, political science, sociology, anthropology, and
36 foreign languages, in their origin. As Arturo Escobar has argued, developmental-
37 ism transformed the relationship between rich and poor countries, and the worlds
38 understanding of what social transformations were expected from all national
229
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 governments within the orbit of the West.6 By focusing on a geographically de-


3 limited area, and producing particularistic descriptions that drew together diverse
4 disciplinary approaches, area studies could produce not only deep place-anchored
5 analysis but also relational knowledgethat is, examining linkages between places
6 and social formations. Expansion of area studies was partly a product of the increas-
7 ing global influence of the United States, but also, a response to inadequacies in
8 U.S.-centric understandings of the world in the context of the Cold War. Despite
9 area studies multidisciplinary configuration, most area specialists remained firmly
10 grounded in disciplines that made universalistic knowledge claims, grounded in
11 premises that, with few exceptions, were thoroughly Eurocentric.
12 Federal funding encouraged this impressive growth, from the 1950s onward.
13 In the United States, area studies were strengthened by the passing of Title VI of
14 the National Defense Education Act (NDEA) of 1958, which provided resources
15 for Centers of Area and International Studies. Interest in Latin America grew
16 dramatically after the Cuban revolution of 1959; indeed, coming to terms with
17 Cuba, and the prospect that radical social change would expand throughout the
18 region, were major factors in the rapid increase in the numbers of scholars wanting
19 to specialize in LAS in the 1960s. As part of this same growth, LASA was founded
20 in 1966. In Great Britain, the 1965 Parry Report provided similar impetus for
21 the establishment of Institutes and Centers of Latin American Studies.7
22 The political turmoil of the 1960s, combined with the emergence of the so-
23 called jet era and the relative financial well-being of this period, inspired many
24 U.S. graduate students to visit Latin America. Exchange and study-abroad programs
25 flourished during this decade. It was the first time that a significant percentage of
26 U.S. university students traveled south of the border to gain knowledge and develop
27 research projects. This experience radicalized many students, who, on their return,
28 threw their energies in support of popular struggles throughout the hemisphere,
29 before obtaining their graduate degrees and initiating academic careers in the 1970s.
30 The fall of the Berlin wall in 1989 signaled the end of the post-WWII global
31 order, and more specifically, the end of the Cold War culturalpoliticaleconomic
32 regime that had ushered in the notion of the Three Worlds, the ideology of
33 developmentalism, and entrenched patterns of U.S. hegemony in the hemisphere.
34 These events helped trigger the so-called crisis of area studies. The deepening
35 of globalization, changing paradigms emerging from new expressions of feminist,
36 racial, and sexual politics, and the perceived lack of need for area-specific expertise
37 in a world free from the threat of communism, together with area studies lack
38 of insertion within the established departmental structures of many universities,
230
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 combined to transform them into a seemingly endangered species. The strategic and
3 economic forces that had sustained and developed area studies during the second
4 half of the 20th century seemed to vanish all at once. These challenges to the core
5 assumptions that had driven areas studies during the Cold War were compounded
6 by neoliberal educational reforms, a process that reordered universities priorities
7 and their modes of funding, threatening programs unable to demonstrate a positive
8 cost-benefit ratio along the lines of business models, and pushing area studies to
9 fund their activities through donations and external grants.
10 These developments led to a series of questionings of the object of study, from
11 resignifying LAS under conditions of globalization, to expressing the apprehension
12 that established social science theories and methods, as well as the traditional
13 humanities approach to cultural production, had become insufficient to the task.
14 Such questions emerged from the transformations taking place in U.S. academic
15 circles, as many native Latin American scholars migrated to U.S. campuses and
16 as interdisciplinary studies prompted many to challenge the theoretical premises
17 underlying the study of distinct and stable areas, with putatively congruent cultural,
18 linguistic, or geographical identities. It was around this time that poststructural-
19 ism, as a language and meaning-based social theory, made its entry, impacting
20 many theories and fields in both the humanities and social sciences. One of the
21 consequences of this overall process was a number of concerted efforts to revisit
22 the nature of what had come to be known as Latin American Studies.8 These
23 developments prompted many LAS practitioners to deploy alternative means of
24 scholarly knowledge production on Latin America, as well as to transform the
25 knowledge practices through which scholars came to understand their object of
26 study.
27 LAS practitioners must rethink their role in the context of the fluid trans-
28 formations of the early 21st century and reposition themselves in regard to these
29 many complex issues. Ironically, whereas many Latin Americanists have been on
30 the cutting edge in the process of questioning area studies and challenging their
31 basic premises as lapsed, biased, or the heritage of outdated American policy in the
32 developing world, the institutions in which they work continue to define depart-
33 ments and disciplines according to these very premises. Area studies are presently
34 being affected once more by financial retrenchment as a consequence of the collapse
35 of the U.S. and global economy in 2008. Therefore, LAS not only need to rethink
36 their structure and composition so as to better respond to the present context but
37 also have to do so with fewer resources and with the threat of even scarcer ones in
38 the future.
231
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 We maintain that LAS must be decentered if it is to continue to thrive in


3 this transformed environment. Demographic shifts, diasporas, labor migrations,
4 the movements of global capital and media, and processes of cultural circulation
5 and hybridization have brought into question the nature of areas identities and
6 composition. Globalization, spacetime compression, and greater international
7 mobility have created an intensification of overlaps and brought together intellectual
8 travelers that were formerly kept largely separate. In the wake of contemporary
9 approaches to population and cultural movements across regions and nations, the
10 notion that the world can be divided into knowable, self-contained areas of study
11 has come into question. Indeed, Latin America is today a global reality. As Walter
12 Mignolo said at a 2001 retreat to formulate the LASA Strategic Plan, Latin America
13 is now the perspective, not the area of study. By this Mignolo meant that Latin
14 America is no longer a geographical entity to be studied; rather, it now signifies
15 a reorientation of knowledge, an epistemology that looks at global concerns from
16 a Latin American perspective, independently of who is doing the looking, from
17 where, and what is being looked at.
18 At the same time, there is greater complexity in the boundaries that define
19 the area of study. Traditionally, LAS has embodied and respected disciplinary
20 boundaries, and in most cases Latin Americanists have been primarily organized
21 by discipline. But disciplinary divisions no longer work as well as in the past.
22 Increasingly Latin Americanists find themselves both anchored in a disciplinary
23 formation, and, at the same time, crossing disciplinary boundaries into cog-
24 nate areasin effect becoming transdisciplinary. Although there are still rela-
25 tively few academic interdisciplinarians and teaching or training programs that
26 purposely prepare interdisciplinary specialists, many Latin Americanists today
27 deliberately adopt either transdisciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches in ad-
28 dressing the intellectual issues they face. One can readily observe today an in-
29 tensification of the expectation that intellectual activity be addressed in an in-
30 terdisciplinary fashion, whether by individuals or by teams of individuals with
31 different skills working together. This may be so especially in the sciences, but
32 major funding agencies are requiring interdisciplinary approaches above single-
33 disciplinary ones in many areas of study. Latin Americanists now have the op-
34 portunity to synthesize this new intellectual reality, and to create meaningful
35 disciplinary intersections and configurations that will help in knowledge pro-
36 duction, and in making this knowledge more readily accessible and applicable
37 to communities and constituencies so as to confront real world problems and
38 situations.
232
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 A related challenge has to do with articulations of local, regional, national,


3 and even postnational identities. The 2008 conferences Times of Change and
4 Opportunities for the Afro Colombian Population at Howard University, The
5 African Diaspora in the Americas: Political and Cultural Resistance at the Univer-
6 sity of Minnesota, Afro-Latinos: Global Spaces/Local Struggles at UCLA, and
7 Reconfigurations of Racism and New Scenarios of Power After 2001 at the Uni-
8 versity of Massachusetts Amherst, as well as the 2009 conference on indigenous
9 and Afro-descendant issues at the University of Texas at Austin, are reflections
10 of the reconfiguration of non-Latin American subjectivities within transnational
11 frameworks. Afro-Latinidades are an example of a theme that must be framed be-
12 yond conventional LAS parameters, in a larger landscape of hemispheric and global
13 geopolitics, cultural politics, and political economy. New areas of knowledge are
14 continually being opened by Latin Americanists, both those from Latin America
15 and the United States, as well as across the globe. Many scholars today are inclined
16 to extend beyond the NorthSouth dichotomy, incorporating theoretical ideas and
17 frameworks that circulate globally with applicability well beyond Latin America
18 proper. One example here is the great influence of the subaltern studies school
19 of South Asia on Latin America scholarship; another is the coloniality of power
20 group, and the general growth of work in what might be called comparative
21 colonialities. These and other analogous movements signal the transformations of
22 disciplinary fields worldwide despite the continued existence of formal disciplines
23 as organizing principles of scholarly work. The Latin Americanists challenge is
24 not to abandon the established disciplines but, rather, to bring them fully into
25 critical dialogue with these transformed intellectual and geopolitical landscapes.
26 Ultimately, remaking the field is not an event but a process, one that we hope to
27 advance with this article. We contend that LAS will remain vibrant to the extent
28 that institutions and individual scholars engage fully with these challenges.
29 Anthropologists have played a major role in the transformation of LAS, and
30 in many respects, anthropology as a discipline has undergone a parallel process of
31 change. In a review of the five areas of the emerging vision put forth here, one could
32 easily identify an influential group of anthropologists associated with each. The em-
33 phasis on fieldwork and deeply contextualized knowledge of people and place, as
34 well as the relatively eclectic approach to theoretical training contribute directly
35 to this convergence. At the same time, there are important senses in which anthro-
36 pology as a northern-based discipline has been resistant to the kind of change that
37 we document and call for here. For example, although adamantly global in reach,
38 northern anthropology (typified by the AAA and the major U.S. departments) has
233
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 found it strikingly difficult to sustain substantive, horizontal dialogues with theories


3 and theorists located in the global south. The wagon wheel pattern, whereby the-
4 ory and theorists must pass through the (northern) hub to gain full legitimacy and
5 ample currency, still prevails. Also, while intellectual principles associated with
6 positioned knowledge production and reflexivity have gone mainstream, north-
7 ern anthropology has confronted the challenge of collaborative research in fits
8 and starts, falling short of sustained transformation. Although many practices of
9 and even programs for collaborative research (substitute activist, public, engaged,
10 etc.it goes by many different names) flourish on the margins, they are still dis-
11 ciplined by the old dichotomy between applied and theory-driven research, in
12 ways that limit their viability within the field. In short, our propositionbeyond
13 the scope of this article to do more than announceis that growth and vibrancy of
14 northern anthropology, like LAS, will be contingent on continued transformation
15 in the five areas developed here.
16
17 WHAT DECENTERING LAS ENTAILS
18 Although we concur with Paul Drake and Lisa Hilbinks assessment that
19 many in LAS have made a sincere and sustained effort to be make the field a
20 cooperative endeavor between U.S. scholars and their counterparts south of the
21 border (2004:35), we maintain that, as an institutionalized knowledge formation,
22 LAS remain largely centered in the United States. Historically, moreover, the
23 field has developed under the hegemony of its founding U.S.-based disciplinary
24 formations, with early-20th-century work concentrated in history and literature,
25 while political science rose to predominance after the 1960s. One survey of the
26 fields foremost U.S.-based journal, Latin American Research Review (LARR), found
27 that by the late 1970s, fully one-third of submissions to LARR came from political
28 science, which remained first into the 1990s and beyond. History maintained a
29 solid second, while Languages/Literature and Anthropology submissions were
30 displaced by those from Economics and Sociology (Drake and Hilbink 2004:41).
31 Disciplines, of course, shape how knowledge is produced and who is authorized
32 to produce it. The predominance of U.S.-based disciplinary formations within the
33 field of LAS, therefore, meant that research and knowledge production were largely
34 driven by U.S.-centric assumptions and political imperatives. As we noted above,
35 even the Left of LAS tended to be more concerned with U.S. foreign policy in the
36 region and its consequences than with interrogating the often Anglo-Eurocentric
37 epistemological foundations of the disciplines. In some of these cases, the problem
38 was not a lack of focus on subaltern peoples; rather, it was the fact that these
234
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 interventions, although critical of U.S. geopolitical dominance, in other respects


3 retained dominant disciplinary and epistemological assumptions.
4 If much research and knowledge production in LAS has been historically U.S.-
5 centric, carried out under the hegemony of mostly white, northern scholars and
6 dominated by a few disciplines, then decentering the field necessarily entails chal-
7 lenging its Anglo-Eurocentered assumptions, more fully incorporating scholars and
8 subaltern knowledge producers from both the North and the South, and expanding
9 its transdisciplinary reach. The term decentering serves as a metaphor to signal the
10 effort to move our thinking beyond Western and Eurocentric conceptualizations,
11 and to seek new ways of framing the issues of cultural production and politi-
12 cal agency. Although in some respects this shift has been gradual and cumulative,
13 we also see an epistemic break in the making: at some point, as Anglo-Eurocentered
14 assumptions are placed on an equal footing with those associated with subaltern
15 groups, in Latin America and elsewhere, radically new power/knowledge for-
16 mations emerge. Much of the energy and excitement in LAS in recent years,
17 we suggest, comes not simply from new research findings, or even, new theo-
18 retical frameworks but, rather, this prospect for substantively different ways of
19 approaching the task of knowledge production.
20 This epistemic shift, we suggest, is resulting from the confluence of five in-
21 terrelated institutional, methodological and theoretical moves. First is the call for
22 greater inclusion of practitioners of and perspectives on LAS outside the United
23 States, thereby furthering dialogue among diversely positioned intellectuals. Few
24 scholars residing in Latin America who study their own or other countries in the
25 region would consider themselves Latin Americanists. For example, Elizabeth
26 Jelin and Alejandro Grimson have launched a trenchant critique of what we might
27 call quick and dirty Latin Americanism, based on fast tours of countries in the
28 region, high-speed conversations with a handful of key informants, and reviews
29 of English-only sources, challenging all of us (incl. those of us of Latin American
30 origin currently residing in the United States) to critically examine our practices
31 as Latinoamericanistas. This critique raises vexing questions about the nature of
32 latinoamericanismo within Latin America and the Caribbean, asking, when and un-
33 der what conditions do social science and humanistic scholars throughout Latin
34 America become Latin Americanists? This critique poses a number of fruitful
35 challenges for the broader endeavor to decenter and transnationalize LAS: what are
36 the geopolitics of knowledge involved in the study of Latin America proper, but
37 also, of Latino/a Americans, as viewed from diverse positionalities and different
38 locations? Are the Latin Americabased colleagues who attend LASA Congresses,
235
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 for instance, already Latin Americanists or do they become such beings by


3 virtue of beginning to circulate in a knowledge formation and professional field (in
4 Bourdieus sense) of which LASA is in many ways the quintessential institutional
5 expression? Is there, as Jelin and Grimson suggest, another growing dialogo across
6 national boundaries among Latin Americabased scholars that might yield new
7 knowledge, new ideas, new representations of Latin America? How might all
8 of us, individually and collectively, work to forge more genuinely horizontal and
9 thoroughly transnational forms of scholarly collaboration with our counterparts in
10 the South or North? As James Green and other Brazilianists have argued, institu-
11 tional modalities and knowledge practices focused on the regions largest cultural
12 and geopolitical areaBrazilalso pose challenging questions for rethinking the
13 Latin in LAS.9 And as Jeff Lesser has made abundantly clear, Latinamericanism also
14 takes on a wide range of meanings and forms as it moves across EastWest as well
15 as SouthSouth and NorthSouth axes.10
16 To fully engage these diverse Latinamericanisms, decentering the field re-
17 quires, secondly, the pursuit of diversity beyond neoliberal multiculturalisms
18 platitudes, the promotion of diversity con dientes, capable of unsettling and poten-
19 tially transforming dominant scholarly practices, and the knowledge those practices
20 have generated. We are not talking about mere pluralism of individual or group
21 perspectives. Decentering requires attentiveness to who gets cited, who gets trans-
22 lated, what and who (literally and figuratively) travels within LAS. Many of our
23 colleagues who published essays in the Forum over the past decade problematize
24 the use of English as the de facto dominant language in LAS, question prevailing
25 U.S.-centric citation practices among northern scholars, denounce the limited cir-
26 culation of Latin America (and other Global Southbased) scholars and texts within
27 institutionalized LAS knowledge formations, and point to the unidirectionality of
28 prevailing translation and publication practices and standardsall issues that are
29 crucial to a more thoroughgoing decentering and internationalization of the field.
30 At the same time, they are central to combating the invisibility and marginality of
31 subaltern perspectives and knowledge production.
32 Questions of how theory travels, of translations and multiple positionalities
33 within contemporary LAS are further complicated by the burgeoning numbers
34 of diasporic Latin Americanorigin intellectuals who today work in academic
35 institutions of the North, as compared to ourtheir scarce numbers during the
36 heyday of Cold Wararea studies.11 In that respect, Southeast Asian/ist scholar
37 Vincent Raphael argues that the presence of what he calls the immigrant imaginary
38 increasingly has complicated the practice of area studies in the United States,
236
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 calling into question the integrationist logic inherent in liberal conceptions of area
3 studies (Rafael 1994:98). The growing participation of diasporic intellectuals in
4 area studies, he further contends, makes it harder to determine where exactly the
5 home of such scholarship lies and who its privileged practitioners or audiences
6 might be (1994:107). The connection between the Latin American immigrant
7 imaginary and that of multigeneration U.S. Latinas/os within institutionalized
8 Latin American and Latina/o studies formations is further highlighted, and at the
9 same time confounded, by the fact that contemporary diasporic humanities faculty
10 teach, in relative terms, literature, politics, anthropology, ethnography, and areas
11 to those from there who are now permanently here and who constantly have
12 to think themselves in relation to those Others who came here earlier, under
13 considerably different conditions (Farred 2003:130).
14 It is this inexorable confounding of here and there in the Latina/o Americas
15 that has spurred some of the most exciting cross-border, interdisciplinary work
16 in recent decades, a third vital force in the decentering and revitalization of LAS.
17 Transmigration and accelerated flows of people, ideas, and capital across the
18 Americas has forced a reimagining of both Latin America and U.S. Latinas/os.
19 Further incorporating the voices and perspectives of Latina/os in the United States
20 and of other historically marginalized groups in the Latina/o Americas therefore
21 is vital to the enterprise of decentering LAS. Indeed, in (historically belated)
22 recognition that Latin America and the Caribbean stretch well into the North of
23 the Americas, that there is no insideoutside, that borders within and without
24 countries in our hemispheres are increasingly fluid, Latina/o studiesdiaspora
25 studies constitute a set of miradas or epistemologies, which should be a requisite to
26 a genuinely revitalized LAS.
27 But as Jonathan Fox, Pedro Cabran and Frances Aparcio rightly insist, we must
28 be acknowledge the distinctive intellectual genealogies, political trajectories, and
29 bureaucratic moorings of LAS and ChicanaPuerto RicanLatina/o studies at U.S.
30 universities in striving to bridge, rather than merge, the two.12 Many contributors
31 to the Forum urge scholars, activists and practitioners alike to move beyond the
32 binary opposition between Latina/o and LAS and analyze the manifold transborder
33 flows and points of intersection, as well as points of tension, between these fields.
34 Given that the United States is already the fourth largest Spanish-speaking nation in
35 the world and in light of large and growing populations of Portuguese and Haitian
36 Creole speakers and indigenous and Afro-descendent migrants from Latin America,
37 a decentered Latina/o American studies would be uniquely poised to promote
38 innovative, policy-relevant knowledge about transmigrations and diasporas.
237
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 Producing knowledge relevant to the meeting the challenges facing the


3 Latina/o Americas in the 21st century also requires furthering genuinely
4 interdisciplinaryrather than simply multidisciplinaryperspectives and cross-
5 disciplinary collaboration, the fourth vital dimension of decentering LAS. Yet,
6 interdisciplinarity itself is in dire need of being re-visioned and updated. LAS, like
7 other area studies, historically has been largely a multi-, rather than an inter-
8 (much less trans-), disciplinary enterprise, insofar as traditionally it has aggre-
9 gated disciplines but has not always actively fostered the creative convergence of
10 discipline-based knowledges. Area studies centers and programs too often have
11 resembled sandboxes, as Latin American historian Florencia Mallon aptly puts it,
12 wherein colleagues in different disciplines, like small children in a sandbox, en-
13 gage in parallel play but do not actually engage with one another.13 Part of our
14 common agenda as officers in LASA was to contribute to changing the prevailing
15 culture of multidisciplinarity, encouraging faculty and students to think in terms
16 of playing across disciplinary boundaries in our ongoing pedagogical and research
17 projects. In fact, LAS entails not just interdisciplinary dialogue but also promoting
18 conversations and collaboration with other inter- or transdisciplinary fields, such
19 as feminist studies, critical race studies, LGBTII studies, cultural studies, social
20 movement studies, and postcolonial studies.
21 Finally, unsettling historically hegemonic forms and practices of LAS requires
22 that we promote productive dialogues between university-based and nonuniversity-
23 based or alternative knowledge producers. We must be more attentive and
24 responsive to the fact that knowledge about the Latino/a Americas is produced in
25 an ever wider range of places and spaces within and without the academyfrom
26 professionalized NGOs and autonomous feminist collectives to barrio organizations
27 in Chicago linked to the alternative globalization movement to Juntas de Buen
28 Gobierno (Good Government) in Chiapas. As LASA officers, we made special
29 efforts to open spaces for what we called alternative knowledge producers and
30 collaborative research methods, through new categories of paper submissions,
31 and LASA supported initiatives such as Otros Saberes.14 The contention here
32 is that to foment dialogue across the borders that conventionally have separated
33 academic and nonacademic sites of theory production can only prove mutually
34 enriching.
35
36 CONCERNS AND CONTRADICTIONS
37 The resistance to change, and the debates that emerge from this resistance,
38 can in themselves be analytically illuminating. Because each of us, while serving as
238
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 President of LASA, expressed an active commitment to this emergent process of


3 re-visioning our field, we experienced both the resistance and the debate first hand.
4 Although public discussion generally focuses on paradigms, standards for judging
5 scholarly merit, preferred disciplinary practices, one does not have to scratch
6 far beneath the surface to find more basic material issues as well: who enters
7 the privileged spaces of the academy, whose careers prosper or languish, what
8 institutional prerogatives are advanced. Although it is important to attempt to keep
9 these different levels of analysis as distinct as possible, our very understanding of
10 the transformation of LAS suggests that ultimately, they are deeply and inextricably
11 entwined. Specifically, in response to the five-part transformation that we describe
12 in the previous section, we have encountered three explicit sources of resistance:
13 the takeover of unfamiliar and incomprehensible scholarly paradigms, such as
14 cultural studies; the politicization of scholarly affairs; and serious erosion of our
15 standards of scholarly rigor.15
16 Before examining each of these concerns, a general comment about diversity
17 in LASboth intellectual diversity and the increased presence of practitioners
18 with racial, ethnic, national, class, gender and sexual identities that depart from
19 the normis in order. The LAS that we inherited from the founding generation
20 (roughly speaking, the years from 1950 to 1970), like most academic institutions
21 in the North, were a strikingly homogeneous affair. Women were just beginning to
22 wage the full-fledged struggle for inclusion and recognition; intellectuals from any of
23 the racialized subaltern populations of the Americas were almost completely absent;
24 as were an array of substantive empirical issues associated with and expressive of
25 their marginality. The presence of Latin Americaborn intellectuals in northern
26 institutions was still rare and exceptional. White males from the North were the
27 norm, and while they by no means all thought alike or even defended the same
28 paradigms, we contend that race and gender (to keep the list short) combined to
29 yield dominant patterns of sociability, and an implicit comfort zone, which exerted
30 a powerful influence on the intellectual constitution of the field. The successive
31 waves of diversification raised two distinct questions: Would the zone remain
32 comfortable with these new members included? Would they bring radically
33 different intellectual agendas and approaches to the fore? In general, the answer to
34 the first question was a cautious yes as long as the answer to the second was no.
35 The point is not to contend that all intellectuals from these marginalized social
36 positions, as they entered privileged spaces in the academy, brought challenging
37 intellectual agendas with them. Rather, we argue that these two forces of change
38 often did take place simultaneously, and when they did, they greatly amplified the
239
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 perceived threat to the comfort zone of the status quo. In important respects,
3 the three expressions of resistance within LAS that we experienced in the early
4 21st century are ongoing reactions to this steady undoing of the comfort zone,
5 which began some three decades ago.
6 Within LASA, and in varying degrees within centers of LAS across the United
7 States, the rise, predominance and alleged take over of cultural studies has
8 become a metaphor for the critics summary of what is wrong and corrosive about
9 the transformation we have described here. It also signaled a resistance of some
10 sectors of the social sciences to reincorporate humanities scholars as equal partners,
11 after the surge of the social sciences in the postwar period that led some scholarly
12 sectors to label the humanities as obsolete.
13 Whereas this attitude might have responded in part to the transformation
14 of the social sciences within the United States, it did not correspond to Latin
15 America, a continent that experienced its richest literary and cultural productivity
16 in the second half of the 20th century. Many of the political events and hidden
17 agendas taking place in the hemisphere during that period seemed to be most aptly
18 framed by literary language, in part because the social sciences were dominated
19 by European and American methodological approaches that could not account for
20 the social events unleashed in Latin America during the 1960s until dependency
21 theory, internal colonialism, and theology of liberation, as well as the pedagogy of
22 the oppressed, and an emerging reflection on popular cultures and on the legacy of
23 Western thinking in a heterogeneous and contradictory continent emerged from
24 within. All these lines of thought were combined with the innovative production of
25 literary and popular culture in the 1960s, including boom literature, street theater,
26 the new cinema, and the nueva cancion movement in popular music, to deliver a new
27 understanding of both symbolic production and social imaginaries on the continent,
28 thus offering an original way of understanding cultural reality that would continue
29 into the 1990s.
30 Criticisms of the cultural studies takeover in more recent times have focused
31 variously on the language of scholarly discourse (described as jargon laden and im-
32 penetrable), the expanded objects of study (incl., e.g., forms of popular culture
33 thought to be inconsequential), and perhaps most important, the explicit renun-
34 ciation of disciplinary norms, boundaries and loyalties in favor of transdisciplinary
35 inquiry. Although all three of these alleged ills are indeed potential problems, and
36 no doubt do occur in specific cases, the idea that they accurately describe or encap-
37 sulate cultural studies or poststructural and postcolonial approaches as a whole is
38 preposterous. To the contrary, as universal characterizations they should be read
240
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 primarily as visceral reactions to the rupture of a previously intact intellectual con-


3 sensus: a growing corpus of intellectuals in our field who draw on different theory
4 than we do, who chose topics of study that never would have occurred to us,
5 and who carry out their research in defiance of the neat disciplinary boundaries
6 that define our intellectual worlds. If this rupture of the comfort zone were
7 acknowledged and accepted, rather than resisted, sharp intellectual disagreement
8 and reciprocal critique would remain. It would be, however, a source of enrich-
9 ment, rather than threat, bringing different theoretical traditions, academic codes
10 (each with their own jargons), topics of study, and methodological commitments
11 into dialogue with one another, expanding the scope of scholarly inquiry for all
12 involved.
13 Concerns about politicization are more complex, because they have two dis-
14 tinct points of reference, one squarely inside academia, and one in the relations
15 between academia and broader social relations of which we form part. The first
16 involves the basic postulate that all knowledge claims have inherent political con-
17 tent, in their conception, their political genealogies, and in the ways they are
18 eventually put to use. This postulateessentially a matter of epistemologyhas
19 enjoyed a growing currency in the humanities and social sciences in the past three
20 decades, gaining such acceptance that it would not be credible to argue for a canon
21 of LAS, or any other realm of social and humanistic studies, without its inclusion.
22 The only reasonable response to this first realm of politics, rather, is to affirm
23 intellectual pluralism, such that the defense of a value-free, apolitical practice of
24 social inquiry becomes one variation among a range of epistemological groundings.
25 The second point of reference for alleged politicization takes the epistemologi-
26 cal postulate to its logical conclusion: a commitment to actively fashioning our
27 scholarship to advance a specific political good (human rights, gender equality,
28 antiracist struggle, etc.). This second position is more complicated, of course,
29 because once the basic connection between scholarly research and political action
30 is affirmed, there is no guarantee that the actions involved will all be consistent
31 with the values and priorities of the academic community in question, much less
32 with some broadly defined notion of progressive. Although acknowledging the
33 absence of such guarantees, we still favor opening the space for scholars to make
34 these connections and to announce them explicitly, for two reasons: they highlight
35 a vital engagement with the world, which always has been a great strength of
36 LAS; making these connections explicit opens greater possibilities for productive
37 and clarifying debate. Many diasporic scholars originally from Latin America and
38 now working in the United States have been trained in their countries of origin
241
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 to emphasize the political ramifications of their research, linking scholarship to


3 public policy. Indeed, this perspective arguably became the norm in 20th-century
4 Latin America, more influenced by French scholarships engaged attitude than by
5 apolitical Anglo-Saxon traditions.
6 Finally, critics argue that academic standards have suffered considerably in
7 the wake of the transformations we chronicle here. This is an especially difficult
8 concern to think through because it encapsulates the central dilemma in any process
9 of collective intellectual renovation, whether an incremental change or a scientific
10 revolution.16 On the one hand, history has shown over and again how defenders
11 of the status quo have excluded dissident perspectives on the grounds that they
12 do not meet scholarly muster, when it later turns out that the very rules of good
13 scholarship had been constructed to exclude these perspectives by definition, in a
14 self-serving tautology that eventually would collapse on its own accord (Harding
15 2005). On the other hand, especially given that the first assaults on these tautologies
16 require political mobilization, and that the establishment of expanded scholarly
17 standards is a demanding process in itself, dissident perspectives are bound to be
18 uneven and unruly, especially at first. The only constructive way to confront this
19 dilemma, in our view, is to encourage both the dissidence and rigorous deliberation
20 on renewed standards of scholarly merit to follow. The former can be justified on
21 strictly scholarly grounds, quite apart from ethicalpolitical considerations: who
22 today would defend the scholarly integrity of a LASA without feminist theory, even
23 though some 30 years ago, a fierce struggle had to be waged for its inclusion in the
24 Association? The latterdeliberation on renewed standards of scholarly meritis
25 an essential component of any paradigm shift, all the more productive if it is carried
26 out in a transparent and self-reflexive manner.
27 We conclude with a word about what the re-visioning project we have
28 outlined here is not. Especially given that the transformation and re-visioning that
29 we chronicle here came from the margins, often in the face of exclusion and
30 disqualification, we are especially sensitive to the dangers of reproducing those
31 very patterns in a different idiom. We are not interested in asserting a new,
32 monolithic model of LAS, much less in pursuing the dominance of the standards,
33 norms, and priorities of the vision to which we subscribe. In any case, the ideas
34 described here in many ways still are located at the margins of academia, albeit
35 with increasing voice and legitimacy in broader institutions such as LASA and LAS
36 centers. Our main objective, rather, is to present a coherent and persuasive case for
37 this emergent vision, to document its contents, and to help it achieve proportionate
38 space and recognition within the profession. We encourage dissent from and critical
242
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 discussion about this vision as a whole, and about each of the five constituent parts,
3 both from those who endorse with our overall message but disagree with certain
4 details, and those who take fundamental issue with us from the start. Rather
5 than detour or diversion, we view this critique and dissent as an indispensable
6 constituent part of the re-visioning project itself, because it facilitates continued
7 innovation, helps avoid rigid orthodoxies, and puts into practice the key principles
8 of intellectual and political pluralism. We insist only that this pluralist dialogue
9 also be power sensitive, beginning with the acute recognition that the driving
10 force behind this vision is a commitment to address deeply ingrained inequities
11 and exclusions, which are simultaneously intellectual problems and sociopolitical
12 realities. Latin American people should not be seen as objects of study by scholars
13 in imperial nations, but as equal partners in knowledge production accomplished
14 through exchange and interaction. In any case, the vision we put forth in this
15 introduction is primarily inductive: an overall panorama that emerges through
16 distillation and synthesis of some 60 commissioned essays for the LASA Forum. In
17 this sense, it is not a projection of a proposal yet to congeal but, rather, a resolute
18 announcement that, amid the heterogeneity, constant debate, and rough edges that
19 come with the vision itself, we are already here!
20 This article puts forth a pointed hypothesis: that the vitality of our field and
21 our collective ability to move beyond the crisis of the 1990s is directly related
22 to the five-part vision summarized above. This hypothesis is a call for extensive
23 further field testing in the many diverse locations where LAS is practiced: Do
24 these five constituent parts indeed seem to be present in places where LAS is
25 thriving? Are they indeed producing theoretical innovation and analytical insight
26 that would not be possible within preexisting LAS paradigms? We also hope that the
27 argument put forth here will generate further reflection on and analysis of each
28 of these parts, to specify their contributions, and to explore more fully their
29 embedded problems and contradictions. This scrutiny is almost sure to generate
30 calls for further development and modification of the vision, which we heartily
31 welcome.
32
33 ABSTRACT
34 This article explains whycontrary to predications of influential scholars and foun-
35
dation representatives in the 1990sLatin American studies (LAS) entered the new
century vibrant and growing rapidly. We posit five realms of critique and innovation
36
from within which, in interaction with traditional strengths of area studies, account
37 for this vibrancy. Because these critiques challenge many inherited premises of LAS,
38 they have faced considerable resistance; the resulting dialogue has made our field more
243
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 inclusive and stronger. Anthropologists contributed amply to this transformation, which


3 has a parallel within the discipline itself .
4
5
Keywords: Latin American studies, cultures of area studies, collaborative
knowledge production, inter- and postdisciplinary inquiry
6
7
8 NOTES
1. For analyses of this proclaimed crisis, see Katzenstein 2001; see also Bates (1997a, 1997b),
9 Mirsepassi (2002), Mirsepassi et al. (2003), and Szanton (2004).
2. For example, eight major writers were invited to LASA 91 to offer literary readings, and a
10 series of panels were organized around their work. This was followed by readings from eight
11 major Central American writers in LASA 92 with an analogous panel structure.
3. See, for example, Ribeiro 2006; Latin America focused scholars such as Marisol de la Cadena,
12 Arturo Escobar, Mario Blaser, Gustavo Lins Ribeiro, have been central to this initiative.
13 4. See Red Latinoamericana de Antropologa Juridica n.d.
5. The library was the William Gates Collection; it furnished the foundation of Tulanes inter-
14 nationally distinguished holdings of resource materials on Guatemala, Honduras, Belize, El
15 Salvador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Mexico, countries that, with the exception of Mexico,
were thoroughly dominated politically and economically by the United Fruit Company until
16 the mid-1950s. Zemurrays former mansion on Audubon Place and St. Charles Avenue is now
17 the residence of Tulanes president.
6. See Escobar (1998:429).
18 7. See Bulmer-Thomas (1997).
19 8. Well known are the 1990s Ford Foundation initiative on Rethinking Area Studies and LASAs
Strategic Plan 20032006, undertaken 200102. Q1
20 9. See Green XXXX. Q2
21 10. See J. Lesser 2007.
11. On the politics of translation, see de Costa 2006 and Alvarez et al. in press.
22 12. See the LASA Forum.
23 13. See Mallon 2005.
14. Otros Saberes is an initiative of LASA that funds, on a competitive basis, for research teams
24 comprised of both civil society- and university-based intellectuals. LASA provided the seed
25 monies for this initiative, and Coordinators raised the rest from foundations. Research teams
worked for a year on their projects, and presented the results at the subsequent LASA Congress.
26 A volume that highlights the first round of Otros Saberes research is soon to be published by
27 the School of Advanced Research Press.
15. In addition to our general experiences, these are drawn from the four articles in the Forum (see
28 Huber [2007], Madrid [2007], Armony [2007], and Stokes [2007]), commissioned with the
29 purpose of eliciting views of the transformation in LAS that we describe here, from a group of
political scientists who knew to be critical. These articles are not uniform in their positions,
30 and almost certainly do not represent the most severe criticisms. But as a group, they do touch
31 on each of the sources of resistance addressed in this section.
16. This cannot be an across-the-board criticism because it pertains primarily to the social sciences
32 once again. After all, some would argue that literary standards have been significantly enhanced
33 since the emergence of poststructuralism, for instance.
34 Editors Notes: Cultural Anthropology has published a number of articles on LAS, including
Marisol de la Cadenas Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual Reflections
35 Beyond Politics (2010), Michael J. Montoyas Bioethnic Conscription: Genes, Race, and
36 Mexicana/o Ethnicity in Diabetes Research (2007), Charles R. Hales Activist Research
v. Cultural Critique: Indigenous Land Rights and the Contradictions of Politically Engaged
37 Anthropology (2006), and Arlene Davilas Latinizing Culture: Art, Museums, and the Politics
38 of U.S. Multicultural Encompassment (1999).
244
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 RE-VISIONING LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES

2 REFERENCES CITED
3 Alvarez, Sonia E., Claudia de Lima Costa, Veronia Feliu, Rebecca Hester, Norma Klahn, and
4 Millie Thayer, ed.
In press Translocalities/Translocalidades: Feminist Politics of Translation in the
5 Latin/a Americas. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
6 Armony, Ariel
2007 El Incierto Rumbo de LASA. LASA Forum 32(2):1112.
7 Bates, R. H.
8 1997a Area Studies and Political Science: Rupture and Possible Synthesis. Africa
Today 44(2):123131.
9 1997b Area Studies and the Discipline: A Useful Controversy? PS: Political Sci-
10 ence and Politics 30(2):166169.
Bulmer-Thomas, Victor, ed.
11 1997 Thirty Years of Latin American Studies in the United Kingdom 19651995.
12 London: Institute of Latin American Studies.
Costa, Claudia de Lima
13 2006 Lost (and Found?) in Translation: Feminisms in Hemispheric Dialogue.
14 Latino Studies 4:6278.
Davila, Arlene
15 1999 Latinizing Culture: Art, Museums, and the Politics of U.S. Multicultural
16 Encompassment. Cultural Anthropology 14(2):180202.
de la Cadena, Marisol
17 2010 Indigenous Cosmopolitics in the Andes: Conceptual Reflections Beyond
18 Politics. Cultural Anthropology 25(2):334370.
Dirlik, Arif
19 1994 The Postcolonial Aura: Third World Criticism in the Age of Global Cap-
20 italism. Critical Inquiry 20(2):328356.
Drake, Paul W., and Lisa Hilbink
21 2004 Latin American Studies: Theory and Practice. In The Politics of Knowl-
22 edge: Area Studies and the Disciplines. D. Szanton, ed. Pp. 127. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
23 Escobar, Arturo
24 1998 Power and Visibility: Development and the Invention and Management of
the Third World. Cultural Anthropology 3(4):428443.
25 Farred, Grant
26 2003 Crying for Argentina: The Branding and Unbranding of Area Studies.
Nepantla 4(1):121132.
27 Jonathan Fox, Pedro Cabran, and Frances Aparcio
28 2006 Bridging Latin American and Latino Studies: Juntos Pero No Revueltos.
LASA Forum 33(3):XXXX. Q3
29 Gibson-Graham, J. K.
30 2004 Area Studies after Poststructuralism. Environment and Planning D: Soci-
ety and Space 36(3):405419.
31 Green, James
32 XXXX Expanding Brazilian Studies in the U.S. LASA Forum XX(X):XXXX. Q4
Hale, Charles R.
33 2006 Activist Research v. Cultural Critique: Indigenous Land Rights and the
34 Contradictions of Politically Engaged Anthropology. Cultural Anthropology
21(1):96120.
35 Harding, Sandra
36 2005 Negotiating with the Poistivist Legacy: New Social Justice Movements
and a Standpoint Politics of Method. In The Politics of Method in the Human
37 Sciences. G. Steinmetz, ed. Pp. 346366. Durham, NC: Duke University
38 Press.
245
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

1 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 26:2

2 Huber, Evelyn S.
3 2007 What LASA Can Do for Political Science. LASA Forum 32(2):67.
Katzenstein, Peter J.
4 2001 Area and Regional Studies in the United States. PS: Political Science and
5 Politics:789791.
Lesser, Jeffrey
6 2007 Centering the Periphery Non-Latin Americanisms. LASA Forum 38(1):
7 78.
Madrid, Raul
8 2007 A Survey of Political Scientists Views on LASA. LASA Forum 32(2):
9 810.
Mallon, Forencia
10 2005 Interdisciplinarity as Border Crossing. LASA Forum 36(3):1516.
11 Mirsepassi, Ali
2002 Area Studies, Globalization, and the Nation-State in Crisis. Nepantla
12 3:547552.
13 Mirsepassi, Ali, Amrita Basu, and Frederick Stirton Weaver, eds.
2003 Localizing Knowledge in a Globalizing World: Recasting the Area Studies
14 Debate. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press.
15 Montoya, Michael J.
2007 Bioethnic Conscription: Genes, Race, and Mexicana/o Ethnicity in Dia-
16 betes Research. Cultural Anthropology 22(1):94128.
17 Palat, Ravi Arvind
2000 Beyond Orientalism: Decolonizing Asian Studies. Development and Soci-
18 ety 29(2):105135.
19 Rafael, Vicente L.
1994 The Cultures of Area Studies in the United States. Social Text:91111.
20 Red Latinoamericana de Antropologa Juridica (RELAJU)
21 N.d. Historia. http://www.relaju.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=
article&id=2&Itemid=2, accessed November 21, 2010.
22 Ribeiro, Gustavo Lins
23 2006 World Anthropologies. Cosmopolitics for a New Global Scenario in An-
thropology. Critique of Anthropology 26(4):363386.
24 Stokes, Susan C.
25 2007 What Might LASA do to Meet the Needs and Serve the Interests of
Political Scientists? LASA Forum 32(2):1315.
26 Szanton, David L., ed.
27 2004 The Politics of Knowledge: Area Studies and the Disciplines. Berkeley:
University of California Press.
28
29
30
31
32
33
34
35
36
37
38
246
cuan_1097 can2008.cls March 9, 2011 11:48

Queries

Q1 Author: LASA Strategic Plan 20032006: Please supply reference information.


Unless this was an initiative, as well, in which case the italics should be dropped
and the title put in quotes.
Q2 Author: Green: Here and in reference list, please supply year of publication.
Q3 Author: Fox et al. 2006: Please provide page numbers for this reference.
Q4 Author: Green: Please supply year, volume, issue, and pages.

247
View publication stats