Of Borders and Belonging: Addressing the meaning of home and belonging in Latinx Midwestern Imagined Comunidades

Exploring the border as a theme for understanding the Midwest, this presentation asks how geopolitical border zones impact people’s thoughts about each other. Moreover, through a concept like ethnic belonging one can explore the ways in which Latinos respond to their bordering. Ethnic belonging provides an alternative way to make home and belonging without completely severing ties with ethnic identity. Navigating the Midwest often means facing the United States in drastically different ways than in more traditionally recognized locations, the concept of ethnic belonging addresses how Midwestern Latinx communities navigate the making of home in this particular region. In addition to the way Latinx communities make home, there is also a need to critically explore the way they are denied belonging in the contemporary climate. Twenty-first century manifestation of racism gave way to subtle microaggressions of feeling ignored, dismissed, or made to seem insignificant. Indeed, white supremacy did not just evaporate after the slavery or the civil rights era, it evolved and metastasized into microaggressions. Thus, the talk accounts for how Midwestern Latinx assert the right to belong in sometimes otherwise harsh and unwelcoming spaces.

Sujey Vega
Associate Professor of Women and Gender Studies, School of Social Transformation at Arizona State University