Conference Description and Statement:
In 2010, the University of Oregon hosted the second nationwide conference of Jotería to nurture connections among our people, build bridges, and create alliances that would lead to the development of AJAAS and to future meetings in Albuquerque, Phoenix, and Minneapolis. Our vision was to create a space to center Jotería voices and bridge art, activism and scholarship across various ways of knowing. We are continuously working to keep our connections alive, nurture our Jotería familia and imagine new worlds and new ways of being and knowing. AJAAS invites you to return to Oregon for our 2019 national conference which will be held in Portland.
As we plan our next encuentro we offer our acknowledgment and respect to the traditional custodians of the land where we meet, the Multnomah, Clackamas, and other Chinookan peoples whose communities lined the banks of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. This is not only a space where water, forest, and mountain converge, it is a place that has served for thousands of years as a point of both violent and harmonious contact between peoples. We invite participants to reflect on the dehumanizing impact of ongoing colonization in this and other spaces and on the humanizing stories of queer, Latinx, indigenous and Afro-Diasporic peoples who have withstood extermination efforts and marginalization and yet continue to come together to imagine better futures.
The city of Portland, and Oregon at large is an important place where Jotería have and still come together to share their scholarly, artistic, and activist journeys. Throughout the state’s history, marginalized communities have faced systematic erasure, violence, and oppression. Upon the state’s admission to the United States before the Civil War, it identified as a “free state” so long as freed Black persons would not be allowed to enter the state at the risk of corporal punishment. The 1948 Vanport flood would displace a large number of Black Portland residents from a successful neighborhood, leaving their homes open to displacement and gentrification under the guise of city development and improvement. More recent events have seen the rise of alt-right communities and with it, bigoted violence as seen in the Islamophobic attack on two Muslim women on Portland public transportation, resulting in the murders of two White allies. Despite living in a predominantly white city that has often been exclusive and outright hostile, communities of color and LGBTQ folks in Portland are still finding ways to resist, flourish, and live. In spite of oppressive actions, Portland’s marginalized communities continue to show up in numbers to demand social justice like answers for Aaron Salazar from Amtrak following a homophobic attack, occupying Portland’s ICE facility, and leading campaigns to establish majors in Queer, Indigenous Nations, and Chicanx/Latinx Studies and the facilitation of an annual Queer Students of Color Conference at Portland State University. On a national and transnational level, violence and injustice against trans and queer jotería and migrants are a constant, but so is the organizing and the resistance.
The recent television series, Pose, with an ensemble cast of Black and Latinx trans women and gay men, has introduced a new audience to the history of 1980s New York ballroom culture at the height of the AIDS crisis and Trump’s real estate boom. The series has not only served as an educational tool but has also served as a way to connect history to timely current issues all while challenging previous depictions of trans women of color in film and television through more complex and nuanced storylines. In spite of hatred, jotería and other queer people
of color continue to resist and flourish through sharing their histories, art, activism with
Image-making plays a central role in the creation of a new jotería imaginary that moves us collectively towards a futurity free of oppression. Viewed in the light of decolonization theory of indigenous activist and scholar Poka Laenui, visual imaging like that seen in recent exhibitions on indigenous ceremony lead us through the stages of discovery and mourning of what has been lost. We are led into the dreaming phase by visual and performance work of artists such as Alma López, Joey Terril, Adelina Anthony, Julio Salgado, as well as the moving images in films like Mosquita y Mari from Aurora Guerrero. We see in this work the way jotería and other marginalized people have reimagined themselves, solidifying their own ways of knowing and creating space for themselves. In acknowledgment of the power of image, the conveners of this meeting, in addition to workshops, papers and roundtables, invite short film submissions (15-minute maximum) that build upon the work of AJAAS’s own filmmakers
and the robust film community that has developed in Portland, Corvallis, Eugene, and surrounding areas.
The Association for Jotería Art, Activism and Scholarship enthusiastically invites submissions for this unique gathering. Some of the themes of papers, workshops, or films can be about, but are not limited to:
[Our next 2021 conference will be at the University of Nevada, Reno]
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