Laura Gutiérrez

Laura Gutiérrez

Cultural Studies; University of Texas at Austin, United States


In 2001 I attended my first Latin American Studies Association conference, and it had a tremendous and immediate impact on me and my interdisciplinary thinking, which are rather nascent at that point. Since then, LASA meetings have played a pivotal part in my honing in on my own critical and analytical skills related to Latin American and Latinx culture at the same time that my consistent attendance and participation has broaden my knowledge and has kept me abreast of the most important debates in the field, and from different regional locations and disciplinary perspectives. I have longed appreciated LASA’s role in not only speaking out against injustices in the different platforms, the Forum, the International Congress, etc, and have learned from the organization’s commitment to well-being in the region, at the same time that LASA has fostered intellectual spaces for discussion, purpose, and growth.

Because of this, I am honored to have been nominated to serve on LASA’s Executive Council. I am committed to working to continue to blur disciplinary lines and national boundaries, to think across regions and find critical, theoretical, policy-driven, and creative ways to address the challenges that most trouble the hemisphere. My scholarly work has always been about troubling normative structures of thought, of movement, of behavior, which are more often the ones that also oppress the most marginalized populations. As a researcher that always puts at the front the work about and by racialized, queer, and gender non-conforming cultural workers, I am always attentive to not reproducing societal hierarchies when we do academic labor. This is one aspect of my work that I hope to bring to the Executive Council, a commitment to not just writing about said type of cultural work, but by also working to continue to open us LASA as a space where these subjects have a platform for their work. We need to continue to ask ourselves to about knowledge production and so that we continue to grow the field by opening up more wedges for minoritized thought.

Besides the Mexico Section, the two sections that I have been a member of consistently in my years in LASA, are the Latino Studies Section and the Sexualities Studies one. While the latter has remained a consistent part of LASA, the Latino Studies Section has had a different fate within the organization. To be more specific, the corresponding track, Latinx Studies, only recently restored, was removed for some time, which caused more of a chasm between Latinx Studies scholars and the organization. While I am grateful to recent LASA presidents that restored and continued their commitment to thinking about Latin American Studies alongside Latinx Studies, there is still more (reparative?) work to be done. As someone whose work exist in and because of the intersection of Latin American Studies and Latinx Studies, and knowing that I am not alone, I am happily in great company, I believe it would benefit LASA—and make this another aspect of my work in the EC—to continue to nurture this relationship in constructive ways to continue to open up the fields that do the work of thinking across regional and national boundaries, as we all labor to dismantle imperialistic and colonial oppressions, our common goal.