The Cuir Américas Working Group | Grupo de Trabajo Feminista/Queer/Cuir de las Américas fosters collaborations between scholars, activists, and artists interested in gender and sexuality in the Americas.
The Group had a jumpstart at a 2015 workshop in Puerto Rico, with Latin American and Latino activist scholars interested in the productive relationship between queer theory in its various iterations and cultural agency and activism in the global South, especially in Latin America (and in Latin American diasporic communities in the United States and Europe). For more on the origins of the working group, see: María Amelia Viteri’s “Intensiones: Tensions in Queer Agency and Activism in Latino América,” in Feminist Studies (2017).
The network of queer scholars that brought this initiative together includes María Amelia Viteri, Arnaldo Cruz- Malavé, Gabriela Arguedas Ramírez, Marisa Belausteguigoitia, Santiago Castellanos, Diego Falconí, Licia Fiol-Matta, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes, Amy Lind, Juliana Martínez, Lourdes Martínez-Echazábal, Yolanda Martínez-San Miguel, Marcia Ochoa, Mario Pecheny, Joseph M. Pierce, Suyapa Portillo, Rubén Ríos Ávila, Montserrat Sagot, Salvador Vidal-Ortiz, Carlos Decena, Fernando Blanco, Susana Vargas, Hugo Benavides, and Claudia Salazar.
A working group is an informal structure in Latin American universities and community networks which, by its convening, forms research groups bound by shared research interests that can be malleable yet hold a sense of shared purpose; this working group has intended to convene scholars, activists, cultural workers and artists (not mutually exclusive categories) in thinking and pushing for a different power relationship between global norths and souths, and a more direct engagement between people in the global south, without intermediaries, while recognizing that knowledge production continues to be channeled through the United States, and through academic institutions. Some of the issues the working group wants to continue to push for include translation of works produced in the Latin American region, as well as moving beyond geopolitics that privilege theorizing from the north.
As an initial network, the working group operated paralleled to the Latin American Studies Association (LASA) events and conferences (early on in Puerto Rico, New York City, Lima, and Barcelona), often times hosting pre-conference panels/all day pre-conference events with LASA sections on gender, sexuality, and migration, or on our own. Since 2018, the working group has developed its own initiatives, starting with the 2019 meeting at University of Michigan, convened by Larry LaFountain-Stokes, and in 2022, at Michigan State University, convened by Salvador Vidal-Ortiz; similar gatherings are currently in the works. As well, the Grupo de Trabajo Feminista/Queer/Cuir de las Americas has edited the tripartite special issue, entitled “Queer/Cuir Americas: Translation, Decoloniality, and the Incommensurable” in El Lugar Sin límites (Argentina), Periódicus (Brazil) and GLQ: Gay and Lesbian Studies Quaterly (United States). We have started a strategic planning process, and envision a mix of future editorial and publishing engagements, while also sustaining presence and gathering of current and interested members into the group, attending local, regional, and international conferences, and expanding our quest for funding opportunities.