The Latinos/as presence continues to grow and intersect with every aspect of life in the 21st century. This is evident when one considers the recent appointment of Sonia Sotomayor as Associate Justice to the United States Supreme Court as well as the prominence of distinct Hispanic men and women in various spheres of social, cultural, and political life.
Latino Studies, as an academic field of inquiry, began to emerge during the early 1990s surfacing from the more recognized field of Chicano/a studies. As such, the major contributions to the field first emerged from Mexican/Chicano/a scholarship –publications such as Aztlán, the most important journal in the field of Chicano studies since 1970; Gloria Anzaldúa’’s groundbreaking memoir/essay Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza (1987); George J. Sanchez’’s historical account Becoming Mexican American: Ethnicity, Culture, and Identity in Chicano Los Angeles, 1900–1945 (1995); and the two volumes of The Chicano Studies Reader: An Anthology of Aztlan, 1970–2010. These are a few examples of the consolidation and the continuing development of Chicano Studies in the United States.
In the past decade, Latino Studies have grown and expanded significantly. There have been a number of publications about Latino/as in the Midwest and North East; in addition, due to the fast growing population of Latinos/as in the area, new scholarship has emerged about the Latinos/as in the New South. Some examples of the emerging field of Latino Studies are the Handbook of Latinos and Education edited by Enrique Murillo, et al. in 2010; Angela Anselmo’’s and Alma Rubal-Lopez’’s 2004 On Becoming Nuyoricans; Latino Voices in New England (2009), a volume of compelling testimonies by Latinos living in Maine edited by David Carey Jr., and Robert Atkinson; Yolanda Prieto’’s case study entitled The Cubans of Union City: Immigrants and Exiles in a New Jersey Community (2009); and Lawrence La Fontaine-Stoke’s’ Queer Ricans Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora, also published in 2009.
Critical Studies of Latinos/as in the Americas will become the counterpart of the aforementioned research about the Latino/a diaspora that deserve equal scholarly attention and will add to the academic field of inquiry that highlights the lived experience, consequential progress and contributions, as well as the issues and concerns that all Latinos/as face in present times. This provocative series will offer a critical space for reflection and questioning of what it means to be Latino/a living in the Americas, extending the dialogue to include the North and South Western hemispheric relations that are prevalent in other fields of global studies such as Post Colonial Theory, Post Colonial Feminism, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, and Critical Race Theory, among others. This broader scope can contribute to prolific interdisciplinary research and can also promote changes in policies and practices that will enable today’s leaders to deal with the overall problems that affect us all.
Topics that explore contemporary inequalities and social exclusions associated with processes of racialization, economic exploitation, health, education, transnationalism, immigration, gendered and sexual identities, and disabilities that are not commonly highlighted in the current literature as well as the multitude of socio-economic, and cultural commonalities and differences among the Latinos/as in the Americas will be at the center of the series.
As the Latino population continues to grow and change, and universities enhance their Latino Studies programs to be inclusive of all types of Latinidad, a series dedicated to the lived experience of Latinos in the Americas and a consideration of their progress and concerns in the social, cultural, political, economic, and artistic arenas is of incredible value in the quest for pedagogical practices and understandings that apply a critical perspective to the problems and issues facing scholars in this area of study. Scholars, faculties, and students alike will benefit from this series.