Find information about three of the projects our team is working on below:

  • Latino Festivals and Belonging in Ohio: How do Latinx communities today build a sense of belonging in Ohio? The Ohio State University’s Comparative Studies Professor Theresa Delgadillo and graduate student collaborators Laura Fernandez, Leila Vieira, and Marie Lerma spent the summer researching Latina/o participation in and leadership of cultural festivals throughout the state, considering the varied Latina/o populations in Ohio. Delgadillo’s research team conducted interviews with festival participants and organizers, carried out participant observation, and reviewed media coverage for Latina/o cultural festivals. For further information, please email Dr. Theresa Delgadillo at

Festival Latino 2017 – Columbus, OH

  • Latino Communities in Grand Rapids, MI: Michigan State University history professor, Delia Fernandez, is continuing new research on Latinx communities in the Midwest. Her work is crucial to understanding the history of Latinos in the Midwest. Dr. Fernandez is investigating how Latino communities in Grand Rapids, MI created place in the mid-twentieth century. Her research uses primary source research grounded in oral histories, newspaper articles, and organizational documents in order to see how cultural identity for Latinos in Michigan develops in relation to both Michigan and other sites. For further information, please email Dr. Delia Fernandez at
  • Latina Zine Culture in Chicago: University of Iowa Spanish and Portuguese professor, Ariana Ruiz, is researching Latina zine culture and community-making in Chicago. Dr. Ruiz’s contributions are key to bringing analysis of zines rooted in the Latino Midwest. Her project reads zines as a reflexive and discursive space that allows for self-making, placemaking, and community formation. Look forward to the development of their research in the upcoming year. For further information, please email Dr. Ariana Ruiz at
  • The Chicago Film Festival: Associate Professor of History at Northwestern University, Geraldo Cadava, chronicles the growth of the Chicago Latino Film Festival since its inception in 1985, examining the guiding ideas behind the Chicago Latino Film Festival—highlighting the diversity of Latinos—as set forward by the Festival’s founder and director, Pepe Vargas, against the reality of the Festival; from its location in downtown Chicago versus the city’s Latino districts, to the high costs of attendance that could potentially alienate the city’s working-class Latinos. Dr. Cadava sees such discrepancies and the lack of the Festival’s sponsorship of Latino communities as widening the gap between the perceptions of Latino and Latin American cosmopolitanism, and perpetuating the exclusion of the
    majority of Chicago’s Latinx community from participating in such cosmopolitanism. For further information, please email Dr. Cadava at
  • Festival de las Calaveras in the Twin Cities, MN: Professor of Chicano and Latino Studies at the University of Minnesota, Karen Mary Davalos is examining the “emplacement” of Latinx placemaking through the Festival de las Calaveras in the Twin Cities of Minnesota. In order to examine the sense of connectedness and Latinx placemaking made possible by the Festival de las Calaveras, Dr. Davalos employs the term “emplacement” to locate spatial belonging that does not depend on bodily representations, but instead on the physical and ideational. Through the events of the Festival de las Calaveras, Dr. Davalos seeks to examine the potential for civic engagement and cultural citizenship in intergenerational and international connections made across communities. For further information, please email Dr. Davalos at
  • Fausto Fernós: Queer and Trans Latinx Chicago: Associate Professor of Spanish at the University of Michigan, Lawrence La Fountain-Stokes is initiating the first sustained academic analysis of the life and work of Fausto Fernós, a Chicago-based performance artist, podcaster, drag performer, journalist, and video/multimedia and Internet content creator. His work will highlight Fernós’s online presence along with his collaborations with other Latinx queer performers. Dr. LaFountain-Stokes will be working to document Fernós’s work and locating it in relation to Puerto Rican and queer Latinx Chicago. Fernós’s online content and visibility across various social media forms has served to increase awareness of Midwestern and national queer Latinidad. La Fountain-Stokes will be examining Fernós’s work as an archive of contemporary queer politics and culture. For further information, please email Dr. LaFountain-Stokes at
  • Latina/o Community Centers in Iowa and Illinois: Professor of English at the University of Iowa, Claire Fox seeks to understand how through acts of performance and placemaking Latina/o Midwesterners remember historical periods of migration and settlement, particularly in neighborhoods and towns associated with waves of agricultural and industrial expansion. By focusing on the cultural programming of Latina/o community centers in Hampton, Iowa and Moline, Illinois, Dr. Fox is interested in how events organized by the Latina/o communities of these towns go against the mainstream narratives that cast these long-standing communities as newcomers in European-descendant “host” communities. By drawing attention to how Latinas/os in these communities enact placemaking and belonging, Dr.
    Fox wants to draw attention to the continuing roles that Latina/o communities have in revitalizing contemporary rural areas and urban neighborhoods. For further information, please email Dr. Fox at