CALACS Congress

The CALACS Congress is held every year. The Congress showcases the research and the activities of our members and invited guests. 

Like CALACS itself, the Congress is interdisciplinary and open to papers and panels in many fields, covering diverse issues, of importance to the region. As well as tracks related to the theme of the Congress, there are generally many other tracks defined according to contemporary categories of research, and all are invited to present work on any aspect of Latin American scholarship. Panels are particularly encouraged, but individual papers will be considered as well.

Congress 2020: Security and Insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean

University of Ottawa, May 20-22

At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the persistence of endemic poverty and inequality remains one of the greatest challenges facing Latin America and the Caribbean. Poverty and inequality continue to shape new forms of socio-economic and environmental insecurity in the region. If the idea of insecurity necessarily implies its inverse, security, then the Americas are shaped by the tension—both creative and disruptive—between these two apparently opposite poles. Rather than construct security and insecurity as a binary, when considering the multiple dimensions of human, social, and ecological security it is possible to see both the co-existence of security with insecurity and their interconnected nature. On the one hand, some assume that one type of security leads to enhanced security in other areas of society. For example, that the security of democratic institutions leads to economic security, and vice versa. Yet, this has proven time and again a fallacy. On the other hand, recent analysis has demonstrated how security in one realm can have (or necessitate) negative effects on security in other realms. How does the militarization of society affect human security? How is securitization linked to geographies and territories – where natural resources are located – affecting Indigenous and Afro-descendant peoples´ means of subsistence? How does the quest for energy security affect food security? How do “smart cities” that are designed to enhance personal security affect the security of personal information? How do basic income programs which provide economic security affect the quality of political engagement? How does protecting the principles of freedom of expression affect the security of marginalized groups and individuals? How do cultural dynamics respond to these tensions? For example, what are the ways that narcocorridos or reggaetón attempt deal with such challenges?

On a general level, is the quest for security a zero-sum game? Or, might these tensions be generative and productive? Such questions and others will be central to the discussion of the Annual CALACS Congress 2020, which highlights these tensions between security and insecurity in literary and artistic production, political representation, migration, education, social movements, economic policies. The conference explores how security and insecurity are constructed in culturally specific ways in the Americas.