Tearing Down Disciplinary Barriers: Dialogues between Hispanic Studies and Indigenous Studies

Lauren Beck's picture
Call for Papers
Subject Fields: 
Latin American and Caribbean History / Studies, Indigenous Studies, Spanish and Portuguese History / Studies, Literature, Chicana/o History / Studies

The disciplines of Hispanic Studies, Latin American Studies, and Spanish programmes frequently find themselves isolated from that of Indigenous Studies in university contexts in that rarely do the contributions of the latter influence the research and teaching of the former. By Hispanic and Latin American Studies, we refer to the institutional study of the language and literature written in Spanish (whether in Spain or in Abiayala/the Americas), Eurocentrically established in American and Canadian universities in ways that exclude Indigenous perspectives. This limitation today is in part due to language issues, as English and not Spanish is the primary language used by academic associations focused on Indigenous issues, such as NAISA, despite attempts to include non-English speakers and South America. In tandem, most Indigenous authors from Abiayala/Latin America do not typically publish their work in English. This disconnect between distinct but allied worlds or scholarly environments inevitably determines the texts we study in the university classroom, most of which have been produced by non-Indigenous writers. These conditions perpetuate the invisibility of an entire corpus produced in Spanish and in Indigenous languages.

This project attempts to illuminate the literary, oral, and non-alphabetic Indigenous pluriverse of Abiayala at the crossroads of the hemispheres of Hispanic Studies and Indigenous Studies. At the same time, we pose some important and perhaps not easily answered questions: What conceptual and practical adjustments can be made in the classroom or in the structure of a major or minor in Hispanic Studies in order to be able to better dialogue with and understand the Indigenous voices and literatures so often silenced or isolated from the Hispanophone literary canon? What are the limitations and possibilities for non-Indigenous professors and critics to read, comment, and teach Indigenous texts and perspectives? How can we train graduate students in Hispanic Studies or Latin American Studies to dialogue with Indigenous texts? How can we indigenize the discipline of Hispanic Studies in the Canadian and American context? Or, instead of “indigenize,” what pedagogical methodologies and tools help us build intercultural and multilingual bridges?

The editors invite proposals from scholars or authors, Indigenous and non-Indigenous, that focus on one of the following topics:

1. Contributions to a critical discussion of Indigenous objects, images, and literary/oral/non-alphabetic literature (from any period and from Abiayala/Latin America), destined for university students. Each text (poem, short story, essay, excerpt of a novel, textile, or image), written by an Indigenous author in any language or modality, will be contextualized by a critical essay in English or Spanish of approximately 1,000 worlds (in addition to questions for readers) that guide the reader in how to understand the text in its Indigenous context.

2. Scholarly articles that facilitate dialogue between Indigenous and non-Indigenous literatures, weaving together connections and building bridges between the discipline of Hispanic Studies and Indigenous cultural (or textual) forms of expression. Proposals for this section can compare an Indigenous author, topic, or literary genre with a non-Indigenous analogue from any period and region of the Spanish-speaking world. Articles whose purpose is to compare Indigenous authors from different regions, nations, and who write in different languages are also welcome (especially trans-Indigenous studies from Turtle Island/Abiayala). Finalized essays will be 6,000-10,000 words, including notes and biography.

3. Scholarly articles that question the periodizations, chronologies, and national narratives that inform literary historiography of the Spanish-speaking world, and if possible, that propose alternatives that push beyond the limitations of a Spanish-speaking Hispanophone world. Reflections on literacy, non-alphabetic texts, Indigenous languages, and border cultures are welcome. Finalized essays will be 6,000-10,000 words, including notes and biography.

4. Pedagogical reflections that offer innovative tools for the study of Indigenous literatures within Hispanic Studies. Examples can include a methodological focus on the teaching of Indigenous texts, examples of projects that go beyond the confines of the classroom, particularly involvement in and with the community. Also desired for this section are works that focus on ethics and Indigenous literatures or the implementation of university programmes for which the curriculum has been established in collaboration with Indigenous communities. Finalized essays will be 6,000-10,000 words, including notes and biography.

Proposals must be approximately 250 words and include the following: A title, information about the texts or authors under study, the theoretical or critical approach to the contribution (if applicable), and a summary of the importance of its conclusions or observations. Furthermore, please include a biographical note of approximately 200 words. Send the proposal, prepared in English or in Spanish, to the editors, Lauren Beck (lbeck@mta.ca), Gloria E. Chacón (gchacon@ucsd.edu), and Juan Sánchez-Martínez (jsanche1@unca.edu) before January 15, 2021. The editors will send letters of acceptance in February 2021.