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Conference Event



In 1943, the Uruguayan Joaquín Torres-García artist drew a curious illustration that has come to be known as the ‘Inverted America’. He sought to challenge the traditional mental framework of the Americas and upend traditional hierarchical structures by recalibrating what the ‘south’ and ‘north’ are to be understood as. In so doing, he promoted the sensibility that South American art should be created on its own terms rather than in relation to other centers of power. The 73rd Annual MALAS Conference seeks to explore social, cultural, historical, and political aspects of Latin America on its own terms, but from multiple perspectives. We invite scholars to share narratives of Latin America that have been written from the inside looking out as well as the outside looking in. As we navigate the realities of our world near the end of the first quarter of the 21st century, we find ourselves laden with grand challenges and Latin America is situated with the power to determine its futures. The left versus the right continues to polarize the Americas. Notions of health and standards of living have been upended with increasing levels of urbanism and the difficulties of post-pandemic concerns. Climate crisis, social inequity, resource scarcity, decolonization, forced migration, and fair access to housing and health care continue to be urgent concerns for people in the Caribbean, Central and South America. As we look at these issues, we must ask ourselves, what can we learn by looking at these issues deeply, critically, and from an inverted perspective? How can we understand the political landscape with the recent attacks on democracy? What can be learned by recuperating pre-Columbian cultural practices? How can we interpret the artistic production of contemporary artists and filmmakers that resonate with youth in different parts of the Americas?  

General inquiries regarding the annual conference may be addressed to  Please include "Conference 2023" in the subject line.


This call for abstracts invites scholars to reframe the way we look at Latin America and participate in the discussion of the past, present, and possible futures. The MALAS 2023 conference theme may be addressed through social sciences, as well as literature, history, arts, and popular cultures, among many other disciplinary or interdisciplinary approaches. MALAS invites scholars, students and researchers from different areas to submit a 250-word abstract in English or Spanish addressing one or more of the topics suggested above, although other themes are also welcomed.


MALAS is an interdisciplinary organization and welcomes papers on a variety of Latin American topics, such as Regional Organizations, Immigration, Environmental Studies, Sustainable Development, Gender Policy, Migration, Caribbean Affairs, Social Justice & Human Rights, Democratic Processes, Latinos in the U.S., Culture and Identity, Free Trade Agreements, Economic Policies, Indigenous Peoples, Latin American Cinema, Political Science, Country Studies, Natural Resources, US-Latin American Relations, International Relations, Literature, Art, Music, Contemporary History & Landscape, New Technologies, Architecture and Urban Studies, and Regional Economic Integration.

MALAS Conference 2023​

Hybrid Event - in Alabama and Online


73rd Annual Meeting of the Midwest Association for Latin American Studies

DATESNovember 10- 11 2023

LOCATION: Birmingham, Alabama, USA

HOST UNIVERSITY: Samford University

The 2023 Midwest Association for Latin American Studies (MALAS) conference marks the 73rd edition of the MALAS meetings. This conference will take place November 10-11, 2023. This conference will be held in Birmingham, Alabama on the picturesque campus of Samford University. It will be a hybrid gathering in that in addition to presenting in person onsite, scholars will also be able to participate online. This conference will provide an opportunity for scholars (faculty, researchers, and students) in Latin American matters to contribute towards a better understanding of all things Latin American, from literature to politics, from history to architecture, from anthropology to human rights, and more.

Friday, November 10 

9:15 AM (CST)

Session 1: Health, Homes, Tourism, and Altruism

  1.  Dana Moody – Preserving Havana: An architectural documentary

  2. Aaron Brakke and Students of SOA 460 - Bittersweet: A design studio where students imagine and design alternative spaces for sugar plantation workers

  3. Ana Maria Duran Calisto - Shushufindi Studio

10:30 AM (CST)

Session 2: Foreign Influences and National Effects

  1. Franciso Mayorga - Somoza Dynasty

  2. Adriana Piatti-Crocker (University of Illinois, at Springfield), “The Tiger v. The Lion: the Argentine Presidential Election"

  3. Maria E. Mudrovcic - Lawfare como estrategia para disciplinar movimientos sociales: El caso Milagro Sala

11:30AM (CST)

Session 3: Historical Perspectives on the Built Environment and Agricultural Contexts

  1. Dana Moody and Farron Kilburn – Through the eyes of memory: An ethnographic study of Cuban Architecture

  2. Sofia Triana Lopez and Theresa Davidson – From Turmoil to Transformation: Examining Narratives about Medeliin, Colombia

  3. Laura Azeredo and Luciana Pazini Papi   – Citizenship and the right to the city in the context of Brazil’s 2013 urban protests


Session 4: Foreign Influences, Migration, and Nationalism

  1. Betty Smith – Perspectives of the Inverted America Map as Drawn by Uruguayn Torres-Garcia

  2. Greity Gonzalez Rivera – Persistencia e inversión de valores en el filme También la lluvia: la misma causa ideológica en más de 500 años de opresión 

  3. Allen Zegarra - América interpretada

  4. Russell Galloway -  (Upside) Down These Mean Streets: A Religious Resolution of Racelessness in Piri Thomas

3:00 PM (CST)

Session 5: Women, Education, and Movements in Latin America

  1. Luca Bullaro – Nuevos modelos de desarrollo territorial: más humanos y ecológicos

  2. Vincent Gawronski - Climate Change in Latin America and the Caribbean: The Triple Threat of Violence, Crime, and Forced Migration

4:00 PM (CST)

Session 6: Between the Lines: Lessons from Latin American Literature

  1. Patrick Anderson - Guillermo Anderson: Activism Through Music and Folklore in Central America

  2. Gustavo Souza Marques - Hip Hop ethnography and magic realism in the Americas

  3. Clariza Ruiz De Castilla - Las Reggaetoneras: Feminism del Barrio in Reggaeton

6:00PM (CST)

Keynote Lecture – Ana Maria Duran Calisto               

  1.  "In this lecture, I would like to share with the audience the results of the studio, The Future of Oil Boom Towns in Ecuadorian Amazonia: The talk will cover topics such as Oil Remediation, Productive Forest Resurgence, Public Space, and Housing in Shushufindi."

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