Editorial: The Beginning and the Path Forward

By Fabio Chee Madrigal and Thania Muñoz Davaslioglu

In the “Welcome,” Frederick L. Aldama writes about a great tradition and truly honors us by mentioning Latin@ Literatures alongside the many great endeavors of the Latina/o artistic community throughout history. We can only promise you that we will dedicate all of our efforts to ensure that our contribution endures and that Latin@ Literatures becomes worthy of being in such company. Aldama’s words are also a great source of motivation as we seek forth to bring you a high quality product that is as entertaining as it is intellectually engaging.

In the planning stages we had many conversations regarding our identity and our goals as a cultural and literary journal. We came to the conclusion that it would be an impossible challenge to capture a title that could account for all identities and genders with which the communities in focus could identify. Even the title Latin@ falls prey to a type of binary play of gender and narrows the semantic field of meaning to its presence on the internet, and even so, we understand there are many other types of internet identifications. We debated words like “Latinx” that account for an open gender identification and the Latina/o common publishing standard, which is, essentially, still a conservative gender binary, but decided upon “Latin@” for its obvious online context. Given the semantic limitations of the cultural identifier, we chose to pluralize the noun Literatures, so as to open the scope of the overall term. We understand the title is not perfect, but we hope that Latin@ Literatures can become synonymous of exemplary art and valuable criticism.

Once again, as Aldama mentions in the “Welcome,” there is an “anything-goes” type of attitude behind our vision for Latin@ Literatures. But, by it, we do not mean to impress upon our readers that we do not have clear goals for the future. Chiefly among them, is our hope for establishing greater inclusivity and interaction between our readers, contributors, and editorial staff. We would like for this space to become a safe environment for dialogue between academic and artistic fields, that serves to re-engage academics with communities and vice-versa, as well as to re-examine artistic boundaries.

We, thus, envision Latin@ Literatures as something more than a bookshelf, we intend for it to become more like the home or the park, a space for cultural gathering, interaction, and exchange; a space wherein our experiences can continue to tell the stories about who we are, where we come from, and where we are going.

Dr. Fabio Chee Madrigal is a lecturer in Modern Language Studies at the California State University, San Marcos, and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Latin@ Literatures.

Dr. Thania Muñoz Davaslioglu is an Assistant Professor of Spanish, Latin American and Latina/o studies at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), and Co-Editor-in-Chief of Latin@ Literatures.