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LLC12: LELACS (Lake Erie Latin American Cultural Studies)


LELACS (Lake Erie Latin American Cultural Studies) has been an active working group since 2008 and since then, we have met every semester at one of our regional institutions. LELACS has grown from a handful of participants from 4-5 institutions to more than 40 members from at least 11 CNY colleges or universities. Every meeting is well attended, and other academic initiatives have also emerged from LELACS. An initial small regional collaboration involving few colleagues from each of five universities (Cornell, Rochester, Syracuse, Binghamton, and Buffalo) has grown to include groups of faculty and graduate students from Colgate, Oswego, Ithaca, Union, Albany, Nazareth, Siena, Skidmore, and Elmira Colleges or universities, in addition to the five founding institutions.

Open to New People

Active since: 2013

  • Syracuse University
  • University of Rochester
  • Cornell University
  • Colgate University
  • Skidmore College

Collaborative Goals

  • Bring renewed energy around Latin American scholarship in literary, artistic, and cultural studies.
  • Foster connections between participants who specialize in relevant fields from institutions across Central New York and beyond.
  • Solidify and deepen collaborations by organizing biannual meetings at rotating locations and inviting more colleagues and students from each of the participating institutions.
  • Reach out to new colleagues at other Corridor institutions and non-Corridor institutions in Central New York.

Group Organizers

Beth Jörgensen

Professor Emerita of Spanish, University of Rochester

Chrystian Zegarra

Associate Professor of Spanish, Colgate University

Debra Castillo

Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow, Emerson Hinchliff Professor of Hispanic Studies, Cornell University

Gail Bulman

Associate Professor, Spanish, Syracuse University

Luisa-Maria Rojas-Rimachi

Associate Professor of Instruction in Spanish, University of Rochester

Maria Fernanda Lander

Department Chair and Professor of Spanish, Skidmore College

Oscar A. Pérez

Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of Latin American and Latinx Studies, Skidmore College

Group Members

  • Debra A. Castillo, Cornell University
  • Gail Bulman, Syracuse University
  • Beth Jorgensen, University of Rochester
  • Chrystian Zegarra, Colgate University
  • Maria Lander, Skidmore College
  • Oscar Perez-Hernandez, Skidmore College
  • Luisa-Maria Rojas-Rimachi, University of Rochester

Group Outcomes

We have expanded our collaboration network and decided to start a 'joint-venture' with the colleagues from SUNY Albany, Colgate and University of Rochester to curate and preserve our collections of testimonials in the form of family biographies, storymaps, family recipes, and community practices. We decided to proceed in order to form a common archive as a body to reinforce our tools for identity and community memory. Coming from diverse ethnic and national backgrounds reminded us as well the linguistic diversity where we come from. We are aware that our commitment has to go farther than the realities involving English and Spanish. Personally, I am committed to incorporate in my teaching and curriculum the topics shared and discussed in the last conference. The strong presence of my students and their own initiatives have encouraged me to build a stronger community that reflect the goals and achievement of Latino communities in the USA.