9th Biennial Conference
Puerto Rican Studies Association (PRSA)
October 21-23, 2010 – Hartford, Connecticut
The University of Connecticut
and other local institutions
Conference Theme: Cuerpos vigilados y castigados: Resistance and Empowerment in the Body Rican.
The 9th Biennial Conference in Hartford represented a timely opportunity for Puerto Rican Studies scholars, community activists, and experts working in applied research and public policy, to exchange research and ideas on the technologies of discipline, repression, containment and normalization, and strategies of resistance and empowerment, of what conference organizers dubbed “the Body-Rican.”
Of all the paradigmatic shifts that took place in the late 20th century across disciplines in the Humanities and Social Sciences, few were more transcendental and groundbreaking than the re-signification of the human body and of discourses and practices centered on it.
The re-emergence of the body as both an object of study and a prism through which we can examine social structures, imaginaries and experiences, was conditioned by more factors than could be enumerated in a short introduction to the conference archive. Nonetheless, among those factors have been a re-reading of Nietzsche; the latter-day influences of surrealism and phenomenology; the watershed works of Foucault, Lacan, Fanon and Butler, among many others; and the crises of representation and utopian thought that followed the frenetic, yet, for some at least, ultimately disappointing days of that globally mythical 1968.
Reinterpreted through the lens of post-structuralism, feminist thought, queer studies, critical race studies, and post-colonial studies, to name some key theoretical approaches, the research agendas in a variety of disciplines were significantly reformulated across the span of the 1980s and 1990s, a tendency that has intensified since the start of the new millennium.
The conference call for papers attempted to invite responses from scholars whose work had already moved in these directions, especially a younger generation of scholars who emerged since the turn of the 21st century. At the same time, there was an effort to encourage others to rethink how their own perspectives could be enhanced by rethinking the body. PRSA’s leadership proposed a series of themes that the Association’s members could use as validation or inspiration, allowing us a congenial space in which we could present and listen, dialogue and debate, what is particularly relevant for Puerto Rican Studies in the paradigm shift of “the body.”
We encourage you to examine the documents generated for, and after, the 2010 conference, and archived in this subsection of the website.
This is not only an exercise in historical reflection. We could envision ways in which visitors might reflect on how paying attention to the body could be fruitful while continuing to develop their own research agendas, or begin to break ground in other directions.