Congress 2021: Security and Insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean

University of Toronto, Aug 23-25

The Canadian Association for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CALACS) invites you to participate in its Annual Conference, to be held virtually and on-site at the

University of Toronto, August 23-25, 2021.

Security and Insecurity in Latin America and the Caribbean 

Hybrid Conference (on-site and virtual)

Endemic poverty and inequality remain 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 2021, which highlights these tensions between security and insecurity in literary and artistic production, political representation, migration, education, social movements, economic policies. This discussion is especially pressing given the current COVID-19 pandemic, which has only exacerbated the uneven realities of Latin America. What, for example, are the implications of the curfew in Colombia, which seeks to limit large gatherings by allocating days of the week according to gender? How does the governmental approach to the pandemic impact vulnerable populations in Brazil, in particular the Indigenous populations of Amazonia? How have Latin American migrant populations been affected by social and political restrictions set by governments attempting to control the spread of COVID-19? This conference explores how security and insecurity are constructed in culturally specific ways in the Americas both in the past and the present.