Jesus Franco​ '20 attends the Critical Ethnic Studies Conference

Mini-Grant recipient, Jesus Franco​ '20, shares his experience attending the Critical Ethnic Studies Conference at the University of British Columbia during the summer term. 

Attending the Critical Ethnic Studies Conference at the University of British Columbia was life-changing. This year’s conference theme was “Critical Insurrections: Decolonizing Difficulties, Activist Imaginaries, and Collective Possibilities.” My academic interests revolve around Latin American studies, geography, Latinx studies, Chicanx studies, and queer studies. The conference sessions pushed me deeper into the field and introduced me to academics who are producing groundbreaking research within interdisciplinary research.

I heard the voices of marginalized people, who are not often highlighted within academia, and I also learned about settler-colonial societies and my place within them. I learned more about critical ethnic studies as a field, which dispelled the myth that academics within the field are “me-experts,” but rather study the power relations that often cause differences within society. Even the sitting was impactful. Since the conference took place within Vancouver, British Columbia, I learned a lot about the indigenous and refugee centered activism that takes place on what many at the conference acknowledged is stolen land.

The sessions that I found most valuable centered around analyzing the relationships between Mexican-American identity and settler-colonial logics, because this is very much tied to not only my personal identity, but a topic that I would like to pursue in my own research. Mexican-Americans have often been left in an ambiguous place within society that often allows them to simultaneously oppress and be oppressed. This complicated ethnic and racial identity, therefore, requires further dissection.

I hope to write an honors thesis my senior year, and the new ideas that I was introduced to at the conference will definitely have a big influence in my topics and methods. I was also able to hear about different grad school programs and witness scholars presenting their own work, which I believe will be helpful in thinking about how I choose to present my own work if I were to ever speak at a conference. Overall, this conference was a very transformative.

-Submitted by Jesus Franco​ '20 ​, Rockefeller Center Mini Grant Recipient 

The Rockefeller Center's Mini-Grants program funds registration fees for students attending conferences, as well as the costs of bringing guest speakers to Dartmouth. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of the Rockefeller Center or constitute an endorsement by the Center.