9th Biennial Conference
Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA)
October 21-23, 2010
Call for Papers, Panels and Presentations (EXPIRED)
Cuerpos vigilados y castigados: Resistance and Empowerment in the Body-Rican
For over three centuries, Puerto Ricans have been subject to-and involved in-various types and levels of surveillance and persecution, and have developed a variety of creative approaches to oppose, resist, engage or live with them. Going against the established juridico-political order; resisting socio-economic conditions; being poor and/or non-white; being positioned outside the law when trying individually or collectively to survive; not being an adult male and/or not identifying as heterosexual; being diseased or seen as personifying disease (physiological, mental, or social); speaking the “wrong” language or speaking the “right” language the “wrong” way; having too many children or actively deciding when not to have a child; wanting to live in an unpolluted environment; playing and dancing to the “wrong” music; praying and speaking to the “wrong” God(s); being too loud or refusing to be a spectacle; being in the wrong place at the wrong time; or just simply being—each of these, severally and apart, have served as provocation, cause or justification for supervision, accusation, and penalty.
In 2010 the conference theme centers on these and other sites of discipline and punishment, as well as on strategies of coping, opposition and resistance. Carried out by foreigners and by our compatriots, by strangers and by our own kin, by others and by ourselves, these varied practices and instances of penalization have occurred both formally and informally, publicly and privately, overtly and covertly; with the use of force and/or by instilling efficient behavior and a lucrative obedience, episodically and in the historical long-term.
This year’s conference will also explore the ways in which Puerto Ricans have and can continue to create critical, social, cultural, political and economic opportunities for civic action. Hartford offers us an interesting and critical space for reflection. Locale of the first Puerto Rican elected mayor of a capital city on the “mainland,” it is also home to the largest proportional population of Puerto Ricans residing in any city beyond the confines of the island of Puerto Rico itself. Coming on the advent of President Barack Obama’s historic nomination to the Supreme Court of the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina and Puerto Rican to be so nominated, this year’s Conference exploration of empowerment as a conduit for civic action seems particularly timely and assumes even greater salience. Not the first Latina to be nominated to the Court, if confirmed, Judge Sotomayor will also become the first Puerto Rican ever to serve in one of the highest public offices available within the governing structures of the United States. Aspiring to a critical reflection about disciplinary discourses of punishment and power effecting Puerto Ricans, this year’s conference aims also to engage those narratives and practices of empowerment that facilitate and enable progressive civic action.
PRSA Conference Themes
This year’s conference thus features two mutually constitutive themes, one with a focus on technologies of the self, one on practical approaches to social, political and economic empowerment. Efforts to study the intersections of power and the body have opened up new spaces for critical thinking and collective action. To critically explore their diverse forms and dimensions, we invite presenters to propose papers, entire panels, poster sessions, and by other creative means, engaging with any of the following, merely suggestive rather than exhaustive, list of possible areas and topics:
- Papers, panels, or presentations that focus on the roles of state technologies of power used to discipline the Puerto Rican subject, as well as on modalities of resistance. Proposals should include themes in the areas of law, justice, state repression and violence, and other institutional mechanisms of discipline and punishment, as well as proposals that explore critical modes of resistance.
- Papers, panels, or presentations that are especially apt and relevant to this (New England) region, as one of the objectives of this conference is to create a critical space for the exchange of ideas, experiences and reflections on how to empower Puerto Ricans in local, state, national and international forums.
- Papers, panels, or presentations that elucidate the ways in which Puerto Rican studies can inform broader debates across disciplines, thereby encouraging that interdisciplinarity that has traditionally been one of the hallmarks of the PRSA and its conferences.
We encourage submissions from the array of communities that shape the Puerto Rican experience: university and college professors, independent scholars, community and labor organizers/activists, teachers and intellectual workers, artists, and graduate and undergraduate students.
Please remember that only proposals from paid up PRSA members will be accepted for inclusion in the 9th Conference. Membership dues must be received by the PRSA Secretariat by February 1, 2010.
PRSA Pre-Conference Workshops
The PRSA Pre-Conference Workshops are designed to provide junior faculty and advance graduate students with a series of professional workshops that seek to assist in faculty development and career planning for scholars whose research and work projects focus on Puerto Rico, Puerto Ricans and their communities, and Puerto Rican Studies. These will include a workshop on tenure and promotion as well as a discussion of the history of PRSA and its contributions to intellectual life and collaborative community work. Pre-Conference Workshops will take place on Thursday, October 21, 2010. More details forthcoming.
The Sponsoring Institutions
The Puerto Rican Studies Association was founded to help promote scholarship in the field and offer a place for scholars to come together. The Association meets every other year (in even-numbered years) in a different location. We maintain a list-serve for the dissemination of news of interest to the membership. We encourage students, scholars, activists, and others with interests in the island and its people to join and actively participate in the PRSA.
The City of Hartford, a vibrant city with one of the largest proportional populations of Puerto Ricans in the United States, will assist in the hosting of the 2010 conference. This conference represents the collaborative effort of members of the local Puerto Rican and Latino communities as well as various academic programs and institutions affiliated with the University of Connecticut, Eastern Connecticut State University and Trinity College.
Gladys Jiménez-Muñoz, PRSA President
Department of Sociology
Vilma Santiago-Irizarry, PRSA Program Committee Chair
Department of Anthropology