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Experimental Critical Theory (ECT) Seminar: “Visualizing Mestizaje through Zapotec Remappings of the Americas”

May 2 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Hershey Hall Salon,

Josefina Saldaña-Portillo (Department of Social & Cultural Analysis (SCA), Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), New York University)

Inaugural Dean of Humanities’ Lecture in Critical Humanistic Inquiry

Thursday, May 2, 2024
5 pm – 6 pm

Hershey Hall Salon

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Followed by a Reception in Hershey Hall Courtyard

This event inaugurates the Dean’s Lecture in Critical Humanistic Inquiry, a newly launched annual lecture that showcases boundary-pushing research in the Humanities. This lecture will be delivered by leading scholars and creatives whose work explores critical questions about what it means to be human, and how Humanities provides innovative frameworks for navigating and understanding literature, culture, and society.

Tens of thousands of Indigenous peoples have migrated to the United States since 1994, the vast majority from Mexico and Mesoamerica. As a consequence, the U.S. Native American population increased by 86% between 2010 and 2020. Zapotec is now second only to Navajo as the most-spoken Indigenous language in the US, while bilingual immersion in Mixtec and English is part of NYC public school curriculum. This is challenging how we define Indigeneity in the United States, but it is also challenging how Latinx Studies will define itself as a field in light of these new constituents. How does the mass migration that we are witnessing of Indigenous peoples require a hemispheric rethinking of Indigeneity? And how should it redefine knowledge production in the fields of Latinx Studies and Native American and Indigenous Studies?

María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo is a Professor in the Department of Social & Cultural Analysis Department & the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at NYU. She is one of four Principal Investigators awarded a Mellon Foundation Higher Learning Initiative Grant for the “Beyond a Boundary: Intersectional Feminist/Queer Studies Collective” in 2022. Her latest book, Indian Given: Racial Geographies across Mexico and the United States, received the 2019 Casa de Las Americans Literary Prize in Latino Studies; the 2017 ASA John Hope Franklin Book Prize; and the 2017 National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award.

This lecture is part of the UCLA Program in Experimental Critical Theory (ECT) and the ECT Spring 2024 seminar on “Ternary Positionality: Relationality, Decoloniality, and Interpretation”, taught by Zrinka Stahuljak (Comparative Literature/ELTS).

The Spring 2024 ECT Seminar is generously sponsored by the Deans of Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Comparative Literature and the University of California Humanities Research Institute (UCHRI).


May 2
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm


Hershey Hall Salon