UMKC Hosts Conference Promoting Chicana/o Studies and Research

Conference focus is past, present and future of Latinas and Latinos in Midwest

More than 150 people are expected to attend the National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies (NACCS) Midwest FOCO Conference, from Oct. 23 to Oct. 25 at the University of Missouri-Kansas City Student Union, 5100 Cherry St.

The Midwest FOCO (regional) Conference is being hosted for the first time by UMKC and the UMKC Latina/Latino Studies Program.

“We are honored to host a conference whose goal is to promote Chicana and Chicano studies and research,” said Theresa Torres, Ph.D., associate professor, in the UMKC department of sociology and the Latina/Latino Studies program. “This is a rare opportunity to bring together scholars, students and community people to learn, study and reflect upon current trends, research, history and literature. Besides three major presentations, we are hosting an all day conference on Friday that brings together research and literature about Latina/os in the Midwest, particularly in Missouri and Kansas.”

The 2014 conference is the regional meeting for Midwest Chicana and Chicano Studies members, including scholars, community members, students and individuals who are interested in Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies. Its theme is “Latinas & Latinos in the Midwest: Past, Present, and Future,” and it is open to faculty, staff, students and the community.

The main presentations will be delivered by three preeminent scholars in the field: Alberto Pulido, Ph.D., chair and professor of the department of ethnic studies at the University of San Diego; Rogelio Sáenz, Ph.D., professor and dean of the College of Public Policy, University of Texas at San Antonio; and Nancy ‘Rusty’ Barceló, Ph.D, professor and president of Northern New Mexico College.

Pulido, director and co-producer of the film “Everything Comes from the Streets,” will speak at 5:45 p.m. on Thursday. The film traces the origins and history of low-rider car culture in San Diego and the borderlands, featuring the men and women who pioneered and shaped the unique car customizing tradition among Chicanos and Mexicans. A display of local low rider cars from the low rider clubs in Kansas City will be available both before and after the showing of the documentary.

Following the film, Pulido and his co-producer, Rigo Reyes, will discuss the documentary, followed by a Q&A. A reception will follow the end the session.

The Friday evening session will be delivered by Sáenz, Peter Flawn professor of demography at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Sáenz has written extensively in the areas of demography, Latina/Latinos, race and ethnic relations, inequality, immigration and human rights. He is author of the Population Reference Bureau’s Population Bulletin Update, “Latinos in the United States 2010.” His presentation on Friday evening at 6 p.m. is “Latinos and the Changing Demography of the Heartland: Implications for the Future of the Midwest.”

Nancy ‘Rusty’ Barceló, Ph.D., a leading scholar in diversity in education, works to establish parameters to measure the success of higher education to recruit and retain diverse populations of students and faculty. She serves as a leading advocate for Chicana and Latina feminist scholarly work, as well as for the LGBTQ community.

Barceló’s lecture, “Navigating our Midwest Latina/o Journey and Higher Education: Challenges and Opportunities for the Future,” begins at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

The appearances and lectures by Sáenz on Friday and Barceló on Saturday are funded by the support of the Bernardin Haskell Lecture Funds.  The documentary film and Bernardin Haskell Lectures are free and open to the public.

Due to the generosity of the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City, Mexican poet Minerva Margarita Villarreal will give a reading and participate in various events during the week prior to the conference. She is director of the Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Library at the Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Monterrey, Nuevo León Mexico and has had a long career in academia.

Panels, papers and workshops are scheduled from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Friday and continue on Saturday morning.

The actual conference paper presentations, panels, workshops and discussions include a registration fee of $30 for non-UMKC students and is free for UMKC students. The cost for other attendees will be $50 until Oct. 15. After Oct. 15, registration fees increase to $40 for non-UMKC students and $60 for faculty, professionals and community.

For those interested in attending the conference, visit NACCS Midwest FOCO webpage.


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