Does Latin America need “Queer Studies?" Sponsored by Latino Club, Division of Humanities' Hispanic Studies Program, SAGE, Student Senate and the Intercultural Office. Presenter Laura Romero Quintana is a doctoral student in hispanic cultural studies and a teaching assistant of Spanish in the Department of Romance & Classical Studies at Michigan State University. Romero Quintana has a B.A. in Spanish American Literature and an M.A. in Hispanic Cultural Studies from Universidad de Chile, Santiago de Chile. Her masters thesis entitled Critical Discourses on Chilean and Costa Rican Intellectual Women, 1920-1950, has prepared Romero Quintana for her doctoral studies with an interest in the literary production of Latin American intellectual women, as well as a focus on theoretical approaches to cultural studies, queer studies and feminist criticism.
Description: The discussion around whether or not Latino America needs queer studies is a growing and pressing one. It has been established that “queer” subjects exist in Latinx culture and its literature. One example is Licia Fiol-Matta’s work on the figure of Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean poet who carried on a homoerotic relationship, as revealed in posthumous documents, with one of her secretaries. The complexity here turns on the fact that the term “queer” has been established, by some critics (Viteri 2017), as a foreign one, which leads to the question regarding what Latin American academia can/should do with the term. Thus, this presentation aims to reflect on whether or not we can adopt or even need a “queer” framework of our own. The English concept holds in itself a diversity of meanings – one that, from its original derogatory use, has been continuously adapting. Through the case of the Chilean Nobel poet, I will illustrate how, when applied to the Chilean-South American context, “queer (ness)” transforms itself in ways that include the disappearance of the term/concept.