Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies
Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

Resistance, Front and Center: ILASSA Student Conference Draws Participants from Throughout the Americas

Thu, March 30, 2017
Resistance, Front and Center: ILASSA Student Conference Draws Participants from Throughout the Americas
Original artwork by Adriana Linares and Nathalia Ochoa

The Institute of Latin American Studies Student Association, ILASSA, convened its 37th annual student conference on the UT Austin campus in early March. The conference, titled “’The Struggle Is the Air We Breathe’: Resilience, Resistance, and Empowerment in Latin America,” brought over 75 student participants from the continental United States, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guatemala, Colombia, and Brazil.

The co-organizers of this year’s three-day conference were Ana Isabel Braconnier, a second-year PhD student; Julia Duranti-Martínez, a second-year master’s student; and Davi Pereira Júnior, a second-year PhD student. Along with a strong team of additional volunteers, the trio coordinated 16 conference panels involving over 75 student presenters (in three languages), a keynote address by Argentine educator Miriam Victoria Gomes, an exhibition of Oaxacan art, a digital scholarship workshop, and several special sessions involving collaboration with local activists from the Austin Justice Coalition.

The longest-running student-organized academic conference in the United States, ILASSA brings together university students from diverse countries and disciplines to present papers on themes that reflect the activist scholarship orientation of the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies (LLILAS). Writing about this year’s conference theme, the organizers had this to say:

"Among its many faces, challenges, and particular contexts, Latin America is a rich universe of different cultures, knowledges, and rhythms. But it is possible to find in its extensive ground a singularity that makes it continuous: resistance. The strength of its people marching for rights, social justice, and occupying positions of power is the light that never goes out and that guides the direction of opposition to oppressive policies. The ILASSA 37 student conference will explore the various forms of resistance that make Latin American and Latinx communities breathe together."

A sampling of panel titles yields the following list: Women Resisting Gender and Sexual Violence; Contesting Political and Gender Identities; Indigenous Peoples Struggling for Power, Territory, and the Law; Queering Borders: Identity Politics, Spaces, and Resistances; Ink and Pages: Resistance through Literature; Youth Matters: Examining the Transformative Potential of Art and Technology; and Urban Cultures, Spaces, and Emerging Practices.

But beyond web statements and panel topics, it is the energy and renewed inspiration generated by student-scholars coming together that makes ILASSA successful and vital year after year. Co-organizer Ana Braconnier had this to say:

"Just as there was a great diversity of papers addressing resistance in Latin America, we also felt the challenges implied by resistance. Without a doubt, there are projects of resistance in Latin America, such as that described by keynote speaker Miriam Gomes of Argentina. Nevertheless, the challenge of transnational coordination seems to be a significant obstacle in achieving justice and dignity. In the face of this considerable challenge, the space created by ILASSA not only offers young students of the Americas the opportunity to come together, but also is indispensable for collaboration toward transnational coordination. We are grateful for the continuing support for the ILASSA Conference!"
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  • Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies

    University of Texas at Austin
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