The Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative supports an interdisciplinary intellectual community of scholars and students invested in thinking critically about race, ethnicity, nation, culture, and power. Hemispheric methodologies and research demonstrate a particular interest in comparison, interaction, overlap and movement between people, locales, and ideas.
Foundationally, Hemispheric Studies reads ‘nation’ not as a preconceived autonomous entity but, rather, a constructed and malleable concept. It examines and registers cultural experiences as inflected by the materiality of various spatio-temporal imaginations, of which the nation plays a significant though not sole part. Furthermore, it highlights race as an organizing rubric for the process of these imaginations. As such, Hemispheric Studies invokes discussions being forged in fields such as Latin American/Inter-American Studies, Ethnic/Critical Race Studies, and Postcolonial Studies.
By examining the intertwined geographies, socio-cultural movements, and cross-filiations among peoples, regions, diasporas, and the nations of the hemispheres, the Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative contextualizes what can sometimes appear to be the artificially hardened borders and boundaries of nations. It further examines the ways in which this Hemispheric Approach intersects with, feeds, and potentially opposes similar work in other fields, such New Southern Studies’ analysis of the Global South, or African American Studies’ use of a diasporic/transatlantic lens.
The Hemispheric South/s Research Initiative therefore concerns itself with questions of how the South participates in global networks of culture and economy; what new theories or methodologies are needed to think of southern sites as affected by and contributing to globalization; and how global and transnational processes reflected and produced in literature, literary histories and cultural practice could be said to constitute a global South. The initiative is especially attentive to the following themes: 1) translocal and transnational affiliations and networks; 2) transnational conflict and cooperation; 3) contested spatial dynamics and registers; 4) alternative histories, futures, and notions of time; 5) bio-politics and race as a crucial feature of southernness; and 6) socio-economic policies and actions intended to alter, extend, or supplant aspects of southernness.