Smithsonian Center for Lation Initiatives
The Interpretation and Representation of Latino Cultures: Research and Museums Conference Documentation
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Conference overview


Conference Overview

Seminar Report

Secretary Small's Welcome

Dr. Cardena's Welcome


The conference opens with a provocative keynote by Jose Limón which takes a look at the Mexican-American community and its relation to museums. The first session called “Historicizing Narratives” presents hidden photographic and documental archives that enlighten the understanding of the historical presence of Latinos in the United States.

The second session, “Borders and Diasporas” illustrates issues of identity, borders, diasporic movements, and transnationalism as interpreted in music and in museum exhibitions.  The papers in this session also address the many challenges in trying to represent these stories.

The third session, "Challenging Curatorial Practices," speaks to both practical, and ideological political issues embedded in the nature of institutions such as museums and their relations to the community they represent.

The fourth session, called “Aesthetics-Beauty” relates to the interpretation of Latino visual art; conceptions of beauty, aesthetics, and community perceptions.  This session also deals with some methodological issues involved in representational practice.

The fifth session called “The Body: The Real and the Symbolic” deals with the issues of gender, race, sexuality as manifested at the level of the body. 

The last day of the conference presented three workshops intended to be hands-on learning experiences of some of the critical issues affecting the representation of cultures: the script-writing process, understanding the audience, and securing the necessary funds.

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