About the Festival and Symposium

Latin American / Latinx / Theater / Performance Today Festival and Symposium is organized and sponsored by the Latin American Theatre ReviewLATR Books, the Center of Latin American & Caribbean Studies (CLACS, designated a National Resource Center by the U.S. Department of Education), and the Department of Spanish and Portugueseat the University of Kansas. Partial funding comes from a Department of Education Title VI grant for “Connecting Communities.” 

This is the eighth conference. Past conferences have been hosted at KU as well as at the University of Connecticut and Virginia Tech University. The conference traditionally brings together scholars from the U.S. and Latin America to discuss the most recent developments in Latin American / Latinx theater and performance studies, as well as to experience innovative new performances. 

Our theme for Latin American / Latinx / Theater / Performance Today Festival and Symposium 2020 is “incarceration”: literal and figurative, political and existential, professional and personal. How do custody, detention, and incarceration shape societies? What are the antonyms or antidotes to incarceration?

We understand the theme broadly to include issues such as: prison; detention; police or border patrol custody; juvenile detention, state custody, and foster care for children; mental illness hospitalizations; ideological forms of imprisonment; etc. How do systems of legal (and perhaps illegal) incarceration and custody exert control over bodies, affect economies, enact ideological and political control, perform functions of racialization, reinforce the devaluation of (certain) human lives, and so on? What strategies, tactics, performances, representations, and movements resist such processes of incarceration?

In addition to traditional panels and workshops, the conference will experiment with an exciting new format for “performing” the presentations, inspired by Pecha Kucha (short, slide-based talks that introduce audiences to new information and lead to engaged discussion). Presentations for this optional format will be a maximum of seven minutes and seven slides with limited or no words.